Good News & Case Studies
Home from Hospital with the help of Good Neighbours
A Good Neighbour representative from an East Suffolk scheme writes:
‘Over 3 weeks – 3rd-21st February, our volunteers visited a lady 5 times a week- we offered weekends as well but she had family and friends helping then. This lady is normally very independent and always out and about in the village. Unfortunately, she had a fall outdoors on a hard surface, broke her collar bone and cracked several ribs. She was in hospital about a week and her immediate neighbour, also one of our volunteers, told her about our scheme and the help available on her discharge. We did an assessment a couple of days after she returned home and we were able to sort out some help at short notice- most volunteers were able to commit to the same day each week and they phoned her before the visit to confirm a time and to see if she needed any shopping etc. taking in.
They did jobs like tidying up, hoovering, reaching things at a high level, washing in or out of the machine etc., but the main benefit was social- a cup of tea and a chat, as this lady wasn’t used to spending time indoors alone. I visited to see how it was going and the lady expressed huge delight and thanks for all the help. She thought the support was excellent, so much so that she now wants to join us as a volunteer when she’s fully recovered- a win win! I’m seeing her next week to give her our feedback form.’ Many GNS across Suffolk support their parish residents with volunteer delivered transport to medical and other essential services, and where needed additional accompanying support to help access their medical appointments. Last year 13 of our Suffolk GNS reported providing 1677 transport assistance tasks to support service users access health and other essential services, at present we now have 35 community organisations as part of our Suffolk Good Neighbour Scheme Network.
Our Good Neighbour Schemes help residents with a plethora of requests for support, as our East Suffolk scheme demonstrates above and as we’ve heard from other schemes, there can be a lot to think about when supporting someone to return home from hospital, and indeed a lot of schemes recognise the importance of supporting older and vulnerable residents to prevent them from becoming unwell and being admitted to hospital in the first place. From getting in shopping, cleaning out the fridge and restocking it to ensure people are accessing healthy food to eat, providing transport or support to access medical services, helping to tidy around the home for return home, or volunteers visiting service users while in hospital to make sure they have the support in place for when they are discharged, and encouraging attendance to social events, to helping prevent people becoming lonely, isolated & hidden and falling into poor health, our Good Neighbour Scheme volunteers have helped hundreds of people across Suffolk to maintain or improve their wellbeing, including on their return from hospital.
The impact of Rural Coffee Caravan & Meet Up Mondays – A social space for Good Neighbours to Meet
The links between the Good Neighbour Scheme Network, Rural Coffee Caravan and their Meet Up Monday’s continue to go from strength to strength and for good reason.
GNS are the first to understand the challenges their communities and residents face, and again and again, particularly in rural areas it is easy to identify that there are fewer and fewer opportunities and often spaces, in which to bring people together to share a drink (be it a cup of tea or coffee, or pint of beer/glass of wine), perhaps a biscuit or piece of cake, and most importantly a chat, and the opportunity to take part in community conversations and village life! The Suffolk Good Neighbour Network has been continuing its positive working Partnership with Rural Coffee Caravan to develop the Meet Up Mondays network and further schemes are waiting in the pipeline to host the soon to be launched C.A.F.E. Coffee And Friends Events. C.A.F.E. will be a brand new initiative to Suffolk from Rural Coffee Caravan and aims to introduce the same kind of events as MUpM to communities that have a shared community space and willing group of volunteers, but perhaps not a business willing to host MUpM events.
The MUpM network has helped extend the promotion of the Suffolk Good Neighbour Network and there are examples of GNS and MUpM supporting each other, with scope for both a GNS to develop out of a MUpM, or a MUpM to develop out of a Good Neighbour Scheme.
Meet Up Monday…A Snape GNS Story
Article written in 2019
Snape GNS launched this year and Meet Up Monday’s have been part of the key to their success!
Maria, Chair of Snape GNS writes:
We started in May this year. As of 17th November we’ve completed 91 jobs. These range from lifts to doctors/hospital to installing a personal alarm system, repairing a drawer and putting up a curtain rail. We’ve changed light bulbs and helped to fill in forms. Plus, most importantly to me, sat and chatted to housebound villagers.
We have 16 volunteers and all but one of them has carried out a job. I’ve linked our GNS to M~UP~M. Each week one volunteer (usually at least 4 attend as they enjoy going) provides cakes and hosts the event. I attend every week. SGNS volunteers transport “Friends’ to the meet up. We’ve found that many ‘Friends’ come along to request a job as they like to do it in person.… I started both SGNS and MUPM to run together. I wanted to give something back to the Pub that supports us in running MUPM. One of the pub owners has a daughter with Cystic fibrosis, so I organised a Domino competition for MUPM. All who attended had an amazing time some playing dominos for the first time. Money was donated to play we then presented the money we had raised ~ an amazing £206 (to go towards a CF charity).
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