Good Neighbour Schemes

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Community Action Norfolk believe that the people best placed to help the community – ARE the community! This is why we have been helping communities to develop their own solutions for more than 25 years. 

One of the most enduring ways a community can help themselves is through the development of a Good Neighbour scheme.

Find active Good Neighbour Schemes here

Good Neighbours Week - 11th to 16th October 2021

We are delighted to be co-hosting the first 'Good Neighbours Week' taking place from Monday 11th to Sat 16th October.

The aim of Good Neighbours Week is to offer over the course of the week, the opportunity for Good Neighbour Volunteers to share, celebrate and learn so volunteers can make meaningful connections and build peer support networks between one another.  Each day of the week will consist of a mixture of online guest speakers, workshops, activities and networking opportunities. Volunteers can pick and choose which sessions are most applicable for them.

This is event is being supported by Community Action Norfolk, Community Action Suffolk, Volunteer Link Up Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity, Humber & Wolds Rural Action & Community Lincs, and the sessions are open to Good Neighbour Volunteers and Co-ordinators that are part of your county networks.

For more information and to register for any of these sessions please visit the Good Neighbour Week Facebook page.  Search @GoodNeighboursWeek or visit https://www.facebook.com/GoodNeighboursWeek


What is a Good Neighbour Scheme?

Good Neighbour Schemes are set up and run by a group of local people to provide day-to-day support for other residents in their community who may need help on an occasional or regular basis. 

The scheme provides a social ‘safety net’ for residents of your village or local area to help ensure that vulnerable people are supported by local volunteer’s completing practical tasks such as driving, shopping or helping with small jobs in the home, and also providing emotional support such as befriending.  Volunteers do not offer specialist care or play any role which should be left to a professional and / or qualified service, but they are there to be a friendly face and a point of contact for people that would otherwise have nowhere else to turn.

All the schemes’ services are free, however expenses for petrol or parking are requested to ensure the volunteer is not out of pocket.  Donations for running costs are usually welcomed, and some schemes will actively fundraise to help support the work they do.

A Good Neighbour Scheme operates mainly through telephone contact.  Typically, there is a mobile phone available which is allocated to a Duty Volunteer.  Once they have received a call for help, tasks are allocated to an appropriate volunteer and recorded once complete.

In summary

"The aim is to support neighbours to maintain a good quality of life, remain independent in their own homes if they wish to, and reduce their reliance on statutory health and care support systems.  Schemes also provide a locally available meaningful opportunity for residents to volunteer their time and energy."



Good Neighbour Connect Schemes - Our response to Covid-19

Since the middle of March 2020,  our Good Neighbour Schemes have played a vital role in the community response to the coronavirus pandemic, being at the front line of supporting their neighbours and proving how important it is to have a co-ordinated support network in your local area.

At this time many other communities have seen the need to create a team of volunteers together to help, and to assist this we have been developing a new offer for groups that want to deliver a more structured and organised form of support.  Good Neighbour Connect Schemes are a simplified version of our Good Neighbour Schemes whereby volunteers register via an online form, then go through a set of screening questions before joining the scheme under our insurance.  All volunteers then receive a volunteer handbook with key guidelines in regarding safeguarding, data protection, equality and health & safety.  These schemes are designed as a short term solution during the current lockdown and once restrictions have been lifted they can choose to either phase out their support or transition to becoming a fully fledged Good Neighbour Scheme.

If you are interested in setting up a Good Neighbour Connect Scheme please email [email protected] or call 01362 698216


Why are Good Neighbour Schemes needed?

We all need some support at various times in our lives, and to help us we draw on a range of resources.  Some types of support are formal (e.g. GP surgeries, care agencies or charities) whilst others are informal (e.g. family, friends, colleagues or neighbours).  Our experience shows that there is often a gap between the formal and informal support in local communities, with many kinds of non-critical need going unaddressed. 

Help with things like that ‘little bit of help’ round the house, tidying up the garden, going to the shops to get your weekly food shop, or getting a lift to a doctor’s appointment can make a huge difference to someone’s wellbeing.

One of our structured Good Neighbour Schemes is what could be developed to address this level of need.


What can Community Action Norfolk do?

Community Action Norfolk has helped more than 20 schemes to start in Norfolk – some of these are still going strong after many years. We are involved in developing the national standards for Good Neighbour work and want to develop a successful network of schemes throughout Norfolk to support those feeling lonely and isolated.  

To support the development  of Good Neighbour Schemes we are able to help you every step of the way.  Our Development team are available to; 

  • Help recruit volunteers in your area
  • Help with the marketing and promotion
  • Provide the training which will support your volunteer role
  • Signpost you to other organisations and indivduals that would support your scheme
  • Provide a toolkit which will be your go to book with everything you need to know
  • Produce template documents of the policies and other important documents to help you run your scheme effectively
  • Act as a point of contact for any concerns you may have


Volunteering for a Good Neighbour Scheme

Good Neighbour Schemes are a great way of getting involved in volunteering and helping your local community - you can be flexible with how many hours you can give and your help will always make a difference.   

Volunteering can bring a number of benefits including;

  • Giving something back to the community
  • A chance to gain skills and experience 
  • The opportunity to make new friends and contacts in your area
  • Increase in self esteem and confidence
  • Personal pride and fulfilment 
  • Improved health and wellbeing
  • A chance to make a difference or be an advocate of something positive

If you feel like you have some time to give something back to your community, or you know of someone that would benefit from this type of scheme in your area.  Please get in touch to find out more.  

Call us at our office on  01362 698216 or email [email protected]