Who We Are
- We’re communities that want to help better connect our residents and neighbours with each other.
- We’re residents who volunteer together to make sure no one in our community is left lonely, isolated or without someone to call on for a neighbourly helping hand.
- We’re a network of Suffolk Good Neighbour Schemes and community support groups, all of our Schemes, groups and organisations are individual and tailored to the needs of our communities and by the skills of our volunteers.
- While we’re all Good Neighbour Schemes in spirit due to the voluntary activity and support we provide in our communities, we’re not always called a Good Neighbour Scheme, for example we might instead be named the ‘Village’ Support Network, or the ‘Local’ Helping Hands.
What We Do
As all of our Schemes across Suffolk are run by volunteers, and committees or coordinators at a local level each Scheme’s activities and support offers vary, but might include things like:
- Providing transport to the GP, hospital or shops, or even work – maybe you have injured yourself and can’t drive
- Getting in some groceries because you are unwell, or have a poorly child and can’t get out of the house
- Help with filling in a form, or using technology
- Help around the home or garden
- Advice on what is available locally, such as groups, activities, or local tradespeople
- Hosting social opportunities such as Coffee Mornings or Afternoon Teas, or arranging trips and outings
Why We Do It
- Because everyone should be able to call on someone locally for a helping hand or listening ear.
- Because our communities become stronger and our residents better connected when we support one another.
- Because Suffolk has a higher than average ageing population, and it can be tough connecting with new people or knowing who to ask for support locally as we get older and our communities change around us, or when we’re new to the area.
- Because we want our community group or Good Neighbour Scheme to be recognisable, safe and sustainable.
How a Good Neighbour Scheme Works
- A group of around 4-6 residents form a Good Neighbour Committee or Steering Group, to raise and manage funds, set out, organise and oversea the safe & sustainable activity of their community’s scheme and to recruit and coordinate it’s volunteers.
- A core group of volunteers are organised to take turns to man the scheme’s dedicated phone/answer voicemail messages.
- They are backed up by a larger team of volunteers who agree to help in one or more of the ways that their scheme has offered to support residents.
- The telephone number of the scheme is made known throughout the community and any resident in genuine need can call the line for the types of help as agreed and set out by their scheme.
- Each call is matched to an appropriate volunteer who is available on the date required and who has any necessary skills for the task.
- The volunteer arrives at the agreed time and day to assist the resident as requested.
Join The Network!
The Suffolk Good Neighbour Network is open to all voluntary, community, or social enterprise organisations, who are committed to creating a safe & sustainable community support group or Good Neighbour Scheme in their area. Membership is free and you will receive access to support, our resources & toolkits, and email updates when we have relevant news, information, or networking and learning opportunities to share.
The purpose of the Suffolk Good Neighbour Network
To bring Good Neighbour coordinators together through an annual meeting, direct contact and regular bulletin emails which enables them to:
- Discuss relevant current issues
- Share good practice
- Offer peer support
In 2017, Community Action Suffolk received funding from the Big Lottery, now the National Lottery Community Fund to increase the number of schemes in Suffolk and support those already operating around the county, with the overarching aim of the project being to develop active neighbourhoods to build resilient communities through the scaling up of the Suffolk Good Neighbour Network.
CAS is the ‘go to’ organisation for VCSE organisations in Suffolk. We exist to ensure our sector, and its volunteers, is supported, safe and sustainable and that our communities are active and resilient. We provide (or signpost) whatever is needed behind the scenes to enable this, so you can concentrate on doing what you do best – making Suffolk an incredible place in which to live and work.