Would your community like to get involved?
Help is available for your community to set-up a Good Neighbours Scheme
Good Neighbours Schemes are run by local volunteers who provide day to day support for other residents who may need help on an occasional or regular basis. For older people, this support may enable them to live independently in their own homes and communities for longer and reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness.
What help is available?
Community Lincs can provide initial information, advice, training and set-up support including help to identify sources of funding and shared learning from best practice.
What is a Good Neighbours Scheme?
Good Neighbours Schemes are community projects run and delivered by groups of local volunteers. Whilst potentially benefiting the whole community, they are aimed primarily at helping elderly, disabled, vulnerable, frail or isolated people. Help is given to those in need free of charge although a reasonable charge is usually made for transport mileage.
Good Neighbour Schemes respond to the needs of local people by providing help with activities such as:
Befriending, home visiting, companionship, someone to go to social events with
- Dog walking and caring for pets during holiday or illness
- Errands and shopping
- Filling in forms, writing letters, reading and help to use computers and the internet
- Giving lifts to a GP surgery, clinic, hospital, Day Centre, other appointments
- Household tasks including tuning televisions, changing light bulbs and smoke alarms
- Moving furniture, taking down and hanging curtains and pictures
It is about local people helping their neighbours to enjoy a better quality of life. Good Neighbour Schemes help create an environment where people feel safe and secure because they have genuine connection with one another.
At the outset, a survey is undertaken to establish whether or not there is a need for a Good Neighbours Scheme within a community. This will identify how many people would benefit from the scheme, what types of services are required and how many people may volunteer to help. Volunteers indicate what they can do, when and how often according to their availability, skills and resources.
Each scheme is operated via a mobile phone which is held in turn by a core group of volunteers for a specified period of time (usually one week but can be negotiated between members of the volunteer team). Any resident in need of genuine help can ring the number and the duty ‘offier’ will then identify an appropriate volunteer to provide the help requested.
What is needed to set-up a Scheme?
A local group of volunteers is set-up with a steering committee, constitution, bank account, insurance cover and a mobile phone. Relatively low levels of funding are required to operate Good Neighbours Schemes. Whilst dependent on the size and nature of the scheme, some evidence suggests that set-up and operating costs in Year 1 are approximately £1,000 with annual costs from Year 2 onwards at a slightly lower level.
Volunteers agree their availability and are encouraged to offer their services only for activities/tasks that they feel happy, willing and confident to carry out. When appropriate volunteers are Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checked (formerly Criminal Records Bureau or CRB) and all volunteers involved in the scheme are issued with identity badges. A volunteer giving people occasional lifts in his/her own car can normally claim the rate allowed by HMRC to compensate the volunteer driver for fuel, wear and tear
Although levels of activity vary greatly from scheme to scheme, it is not uncommon for a single scheme to receive around 5 requests for help each week.
What A Good Neighbours Scheme is not …
Good Neighbours Schemes do not replace the work/services provided by Adult Social Care or other professional care agencies and should not be seen as a free or cheap way to do skilled tasks that require the use of qualified trades people. No tasks are undertaken that require certified qualification such as electrical, gas or plumbing work. Such work is normally beyond the scope of Good Neighbour Schemes and their insurance cover.