Volunteers Week article: GNS – a community volunteering case study

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Volunteers Week runs from Thurs 1st to Weds 7th June.  To support and celebrate organisations who work with volunteers we will be sharing an article for each day of the event.

GNS – a community volunteering case study

At Community Action Norfolk we 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. A Good Neighbour Scheme is a small but structured group of volunteers who offer to do simple tasks for those most in need in their community.  This might include things such as changing a light bulb, hanging a picture, offering some company, collecting prescriptions, giving someone a lift, help with filling in forms and much more.

To give a flavour of how community volunteering can work, here is some information about the work of a couple of GNSs.

Potter Heigham GNS

The Potter Heigham GNS was set up in 2010 with the aim of providing help and support in the village wherever possible.

With the introduction of a dedicated mobile telephone, we have been able to arrange transport to and from Ludham and Stalham Green surgeries and all local hospitals. We hold a monthly social afternoon tea party and a residents’ lunch. In conjunction with the Potter Heigham Trust we collect and deliver medication to anyone unable to get out themselves.

We are a small group of volunteers and anyone interested in joining us will be warmly welcomed.

Just ring 07884 246 687 and find out more.

Acle and District GNS

This is a voluntary organisation where people who need a bit of assistance can phone a central number and a volunteer will be asked to help out. All volunteers will be checked through the Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly CRB). The Scheme is funded by grants from Broadland District Council, Norfolk Rural Community Council (now called Community Action Norfolk), and Acle Parish Council and by local fundraising.

Services that might be included are transport to appointments at the doctors’ surgery, or at a hospital (45p per mile will be charged for petrol), occasional gardening, dog walking, help around the house, collecting shopping or  library books or just a cup of tea and a chat.

If you are interested in joining as a volunteer please phone Angela on 07956 199 356 or email her on angelabishopworkshops@btinternet.com.

The result? Community spirit

In survey after survey we have been told that people in rural Norfolk want to see more community spirit in their towns and villages, they want to encourage more volunteering and they want the best care possible for the most vulnerable.  A Good Neighbour Scheme provides all of these and more. They can foster a feeling of wellbeing not only for the residents who benefit from the help they receive, but also for the volunteers who gain a sense of purpose and a way of giving something back to the community.

How Community Action Norfolk can help

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 in creating a helpful toolkit to help you manage your schemes.

If you are interested in developing a scheme in your community talk to one of our Development Team.


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