Northamptonshire ACRE are currently working on setting up Good Neighbour Schemes across Northamptonshire and with the support of the Council are now setting them up in South Northants.

We would love to hear from you or anyone in your community that might like to set up a Scheme so please get in touch if you would like further information or have any questions.

Good Neighbour Schemes use voluntary effort from local people to provide help and support for anyone in their village who might need assistance with low level tasks such as lifts to day centres, GP surgery or other appointments, help with shopping or gardening, filling in forms and letter writing or using computers or even dog walking. They have been proven to be an effective means to help alleviate loneliness and social isolation in rural communities especially among older people as well as helping to strengthen community ties.

Volunteers provide the kind of help that would be expected of a good neighbour (changing a light bulb, giving someone a lift, picking up a prescription). They do not do complex jobs or provide social care services. A pool of local co-ordinators and volunteers means that no individual volunteer is overburdened, and the whole community benefits by being more connected.

Informal arrangements already exist in many villages, but they can be hit or miss, with some people well provided for while others are overlooked. Adopting the ‘Good Neighbour’ approach ensures that neighbourly assistance is available to everyone in the community that needs it.

South Northants Council are supporting Northamptonshire ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) to set up 7 Good Neighbour Schemes in the District. The Schemes can be run by anyone and can be tailored to fit the needs of the community. For those that decide to set up a scheme funding and step by step support will be provided. A grant of up to £1000 will be given per scheme by South Northants Council.

Good Neighbour Schemes have successfully been set up in other parts of the County and both South Northants Council and Northamptonshire ACRE are keen to build on these successes.

For more information please contact:

Rebecca Breakwell—Northamptonshire Acre Rural Officer.

Rebecca.breakwell@northantsacre.org.uk. 01604 825884.

NACRE: For over 60 years Northamptonshire ACRE has supported rural communities in the county. They are an independent countywide charity working with rural communities to improve their quality of life , especially for the disadvantaged. They are one of 38 Rural Community Councils across England that make up the ACRE Network.

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