Popping round to borrow a cup of sugar can often be the extent of our relationship with our closest neighbours and it is this disconnect that CCS (Community Council for Somerset) is hoping to tackle as it launches the Somerset Good Neighbours Scheme.
CCS has won funding from The National Lottery Community Fund to facilitate the first village/parish-based Good Neighbour (GN) scheme in Somerset.
The scheme is intended to partner willing volunteers and helpers with anyone needing help with small one-off tasks, such as lifts to medical appointments, dog walks, or even simply sharing a cup of tea and a friendly chat. The aim is to bring people together and help build strong relationships and connections within local communities so that they can support each other in a neighbourly way.
The pilot scheme will be in approximately 10 communities where locals have expressed an interest and want support to help get started.
CCS has developed a toolkit with helpful advice and hints and tips on:
- How to hold public meetings to recruit Good Neighbours
- How the group is structured: constituted or informal, a simple set of policies/procedures, publicity etc.
- Dos & Don’ts
- Training, safeguarding, DBS checks and financial management
Keeley Rudd Chief Executive of CCS said: “CCS is excited to launch Somerset Good Neighbours; it’s been in development for a while and whilst we know many people already act informally to support each other, we wanted to give others a helping hand to get started. The toolkit is a great starting point and will help local communities to establish a scheme to suit their own community’s needs; after all no-one knows a community better than the people who live there. Good Neighbours schemes improve neighbourly spirit and help reduce loneliness and isolation by building strong social networks, improving confidence and self-esteem and promoting a sense of belonging.”
If your community is interested in being part of the pilot please contact CCS email: [email protected]