Community Council of Shropshire - Be a good neighbour

PUBLISHED: 16:40 28 June 2011 | UPDATED: 19:37 20 February 2013

Community Council of Shropshire - Be a good neighbour

Community Council of Shropshire - Be a good neighbour

Being a good neighbour ought to be second nature, but sometimes we claim to be too busy to help others. In rural Minsterley, a scheme run by the Community Council of Shropshire shows that gioving a helping hand reaps benefits for everyone

Cynthia Thomas isnt quite sure how she would manage without the lovely volunteers who take her to hospital appointments and the supermarket. This service means everything to me, says the 79-year-old, who is one of dozens of Minsterley residents who have come to depend on their Good Neighbours.

The Community Council of Shropshires (CCS) Good Neighbour Scheme is a network of volunteers in rural areas around the county who recognise and support vulnerable and isolated members of their community.

Daphne Simmons, manager of the CCS Preventative Team explains: The Good Neighbour Scheme aims to help people with such tasks as dog walking, shopping, changing library books or simply providing a little company at times. At CCS we co-ordinate the volunteers by offering training, networking and general support.

We have a band of active volunteers at a dozen schemes across the county who also provide a car service to drive people around for things such as hospital visits, shopping trips or medical appointments, especially where public transport does not fit in with the persons individual capabilities or timings.

The scheme at Minsterley has been a great success story.

Margaret Keable, manager of Longleat Close sheltered dwellings, said: The Good Neighbour Scheme is absolutely brilliant. We have 39 bungalows on site and nearly half of the residents use the services and assistance given by these wonderful volunteers.

The scheme provides our residents with a real sense of independence. They are able to call on the volunteers to help get them around the locality, together with the obvious social benefits of having a wider range of people to chat to!

Local organiser Barry Price, one of the volunteers, added: We have eight local volunteer drivers covering the whole parish of Minsterley and they all work on a rota system, using one local phone number to keep things simple, for people who may need a helping hand.

Besides the driving duties, I have been called upon to change the odd light bulb and have even spent a few hours with bruised knuckles attempting to assemble some flat pack furniture for one lady, but it is really is a delight to be able to help our neighbours in this way.

The response we get from villagers is reward itself and great friendships are often formed, which also adds to our job satisfaction and to their own feelings of community support and personal well-being.

Longleat Close resident Cynthia summed it up thus: This service means everything to me, as I need regular transport to get to hospital appointments and to have a wander around Sainsburys. They all have lovely comfortable cars which I can get in and out of with ease and they literally do go that extra mile to help in any way they can, so I am very grateful indeed.

Anybody interested in helping with the Good Neighbour Scheme can contact Daphne Simmons and the CCS team on 01743 360641

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