North Walsham

Good neighbours

Just Regional
Aug 19, 2020 3 mins read

They were there when their community needed them the most.

As the country was forced into lockdown by the coronavirus pandemic, the North Walsham Good Neighbours scheme swung into action to protect the most vulnerable in the area.

An amazing 100 new volunteers came forward to join forces with existing members of the group to offer their services to people in need throughout the community.

Members of the North Walsham Good Neighbours scheme.

The front page of this month’s Just North Walsham is dedicated to those who have volunteered for, and been helped by, Good Neighbours.

Hundreds of residents have had medicines and shopping delivered, received regular telephone calls and letters to ease loneliness, and also had a variety of jobs carried out around their homes and gardens.

Paul Robinson, chairman of North Walsham Good Neighbour scheme, said: “Everyone has pulled the stops out for one another.

“We’ve managed it pretty well largely thanks to the volunteers. They have been phenomenal. Many had said that they would like to become established volunteers even after the crisis has eased and that’s wonderful.”

Figures collated by the group show that by the end of April they had sent more than 175 letters and cards to care homes and people in isolation, and, more than 350 calls were to neighbours in June alone.

Cassie Kealey, one of the group’s coordinators, said: “The volunteers have been amazing. We’ll send an email out and five minutes later someone will respond to it. The volunteers are quick to react and help. We get so many thank you messages from people. It’s amazing. We will throw the volunteers a party eventually.”

A party was due to be held in September to mark the fifth birthday of Good Neighbours and while this has been postponed, the special occasion will be marked by the delivery afternoon tea party boxes to those who have been supported by the group during the crisis.
“We are going to take afternoon tea to the people we have helped to say have a nice afternoon tea on us,” added Cassie.

While much of the focus in recent weeks has been on helping people in their own homes, the group is also now assisting people as they get back out and about again.
Paul said this could include helping people negotiate their way around the town centre and understand the changes caused by social distancing regulations.
“A lot of people will be unsure and we can offer to explain how things are now working in the town,” added Paul.

Good Neighbours is also looking to help people develop their IT skills as more people turn to video calls to catch up with family and friends.
“We are exploring opportunities to support some of our neighbours who are not particularly IT savvy but want to know more about connecting with family and friends,” said Paul.

To find out more about the work of the North Walsham Good Neighbour Scheme, email or call 07468 109227.

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