Desford Good Neighbour Scheme
The scheme provides a service to the villages of Desford, Botcheston, Newtown Unthank and Kirby Grange.
Desford Parish Council invited the Rural Community Council (RCC) to present the detail of the Good Neighbour Scheme initiative which highlighted the benefits to the community, how it would work and any associated costs. Other community groups also attended and there was a great deal of interest.
A working group was formed and with the support of the RCC a public meeting was held and a household survey was undertaken to inform the community of the scheme and to seek volunteers to support it.
The RCC was awarded a SHIRE Grant in March 2016 to enable 12 months of dedicated support to facilitate the establishment of additional Good Neighbour Schemes around the county
The household survey had 139 returns which identified 118 volunteers some of which were interested in forming the steering committee and 48 people who would directly benefit from the scheme.
The steering group opened a community bank account, obtained insurance, adopted appropriate policies and procedures and obtained funding to launch and run the scheme.
Initially 50 volunteers were DBS checked.
The group engaged further with the wider community with a web site, post cards and a launch event.
The Scheme covers the parish of Desford including Botcheston, Newtown Unthank and Kirby Grange and was launched in January 2014.
Local people have come forward as volunteers to support the needs of the more vulnerable in the community.
People have been supported with a range of smaller jobs which make a big difference to their daily lives. Jobs /tasks include; shopping, gardening, walking the dog, a lift to a hospital/doctors appointment. Volunteers have also just been popping in to have a chat with those that are living alone.
The Scheme has led to:
Reduced isolation, both for users of the service and the volunteers
Improved independence - people are able to stay in their own homes for longer with community support undertaking jobs and tasks that they can no longer undertake safely
Improved health and wellbeing – people being able to get out of their homes and take part in community activity.
HELPING PEOPLE TO FEEL INTEGRATED AND ACTIVE
Sample of craft products produced by local residents to support vulnerable individuals from different neurodiverse conditions
Sunny Skies Enterprise CIC - https://www.leicestershire.gov.uk/popular-now/directories/information-and-support-directory/sunny-skies-enterprise-cic supports adults with learning disabilities to learn valuable work and life skills.
Due to Covid-19 they had to close their doors but to ensure they were able to support the people they work with, they applied for a Leicestershire Communities Fund grant and were awarded £540 to deliver video online sessions with their members and a series of craft activities that were provided to support their members in their daily life. Through Zoom sessions with their members they also run dance and cooking lessons.
Feedback from members has been very positive, one beneficiary of the Zoom sessions said; '' In this unprecedented pandemic the zoom calls have been a tremendous help. Adults with learning difficulties have been isolated and have had to rely on these sources of communication as their lifeline. I can't emphasis enough how much Asha has enjoyed being part of them. It has been something that she looked forward to whilst we cope with all the pressures and high levels of anxiety''.
Craft products were designed and produced by their members, including personalised and hand made decorated plates and mugs to support their members with their mental health
Another local resident, Debbie Swoter said: "Edward, who is 32 and has Downs Syndrome, was confused and rather deflated as suddenly life was reduced to being confined to home 24/7 with the exception of once daily exercise; after a couple of weeks Zoe and Pippa got in touch and suggested virtual activity sessions to bring some normality and social interaction into our locked down world. What a blessing this Zoom has become! They 'Zoomed' into our home eight times a week, with music and dance, singing, exercise, art, games, quizzes and bingo, initially for an hour at a time but soon extending to 90mins as the young people were keen to talk at the end of the sessions. It was literally a lifeline and Ed's day revolved around these sessions."
Castle Donington Volunteer Centre's Covid response has been intense over the last 23 weeks, with employees and volunteers stepping up to provide necessary services throughout the Covid pandemic.
5 individuals are employed by Castle Donington Volunteer Centre, all of whom were essential to the uplift in workload.
At the same time, the Centre's appeal for new volunteers in the villages was phenomenally successful. 128 people have been able to provide support to the 11 villages that they cover.
It is estimated by the Volunteer Centre that by 24th August it had supported in excess of 300 residents with shopping delivers; this involved 1,385 shopping deliveries from the local shops, but also the delivery of frozen food produced by volunteers to vulnerable individuals with different conditions and personal situations.
Change in the cumulative number of shopping requests up to 17th August 2020 from 17th March 2020.
Residents that were isolated were delivered their prescriptions, in an agreement reached with the local GP's and Pharmacy; Castle Donington Volunteer Centre has made 350 prescription deliveries.
To support people feeling alone and without family support, a buddying call system was put in place. This is being provided in conjunction with Hospice Hope and more than 600 telephone support calls have been made.
Some other activities provided by the Centre have included:
- 42 Post Office trips to provide people with the cash they needed and ensure that bills were paid.
- 69 Dog walking activities
- 37 visits to collect and redistribute Emergency Boxes donated by local people; These were targeted at people that were known to be struggling, including families identified in conjunction with a local school.
- 37 Book packages loaned from an honesty book initiative;. The Centre has 2000 books available to loan.
Special Events / Services - VE Day Cream Tea
Wayne Tranmer, Chair of Volunteers of Castle Donington Volunteer Centre said:
'As VE Day had the potential to be a flop we provided a Cream Tea to
the over 75's and veterans, the population that were present on that day 75 years ago.
We sourced, baked, packed and delivered 318 teas before lunch on the 8th of May to rekindle
memories, cheer up those in our villages who lived through the times and remind them that
we were here for them''.