Supporting the older generation

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


Through the use of Good Neighbour schemes, Northamptonshire ACRE (NACRE) will support villages in the Daventry District of Northamptonshire to become good neighbour communities. Good Neighbour Schemes are about local volunteers providing day to day support to other residents who may need help on an occasional or regular basis. The schemes bring together informal care that so often already goes on in villages and bridges gaps in services for vulnerable individuals with non-critical needs, to ensure they don’t become critical. Although the whole community can benefit from the scheme, they are primarily aimed at helping elderly, vulnerable and isolated people in their village.
The schemes help with low level activities e.g: befriending/companionship; dog walking/caring for pets; shopping, reading or using computers; gardening; lifts for medical purposes or to attend day centres; general household tasks such as changing light bulbs or putting up smoke alarms and much more. Some schemes signpost people to other services if needed such as professional or voluntary organisations, or statutory agencies such as Adult Care. They can also identify gaps in services and activities, helping to set up new ones in their area. Each scheme is unique and offers as much or as little as the volunteers involved want to provide. The attached video shows how the schemes work.
As the population of the UK ages, loneliness and social isolation are two of the growing issues facing older people. In rural areas this is often exacerbated by additional factors such as poor access to services, fuel poverty, declining community spirit and lack of transport. As part of Daventry District Council’s recent Ageing Well Strategy 2017-21, they consulted with older people in villages in their area with startling results: in one village 5% stated they had little social contact with people and feel socially isolated (98 of 1900 residents) while further 3.5% don’t see or talk to any family or friends in a week (70 residents).
NACRE worked with Daventry District on a number of Ageing Well workshops as part of the strategy to explain Good Neighbour schemes. As a result, 10 villages in Daventry District have indicated they want to set up a scheme, with others keen to know more. At a recent parish meeting in the district an elderly resident said “this is a fantastic idea. I know of at least 5 people around me who would love to have someone come in and help them.“
The money will be used to support each village wanting to set up a scheme. Villages will be able to apply for money to buy a laptop and mobile phone (with paid sim card for 12 months) for their Good Neighbour coordinators to use in order to receive calls from residents requesting help. They will receive money towards training of volunteers (Safeguarding Adults and Lone Worker procedures), publicity and marketing items, basic insurance cover, costs to hire halls and refreshments for events. The cost for each village will be between £700 to £900 depending upon the size of the village and number of volunteers. The funding can support up to 25 schemes in villages with populations from 500 to 4000 people.
Part of the funding will be used to help any village wanting to set up a community car scheme, while a small amount will be available for schemes to purchase services from local voluntary sector organisations where needed. Each scheme will be provided with a free comprehensive toolkit from NACRE that covers everything from starting the scheme, recruiting volunteers, to obtaining funding in the future.
Similar schemes elsewhere in the country are very successful and their evidence shows they enable older people to live independently in their own homes and community for longer, while helping to reduce feelings of isolation. We know from our work and Daventry District's surveys there is a real need for these schemes in rural areas. They work because local people own and run them for the benefit of each other.

Project Video

Northamptonshire ACRE

Moment of Pride

Living in a village can be great but for some older residents it can be a lonely place. Good neighbour schemes are owned, shaped and run by local people, coming together to help their neighbours be less isolated and lonely. They benefit everyone and we know they work. Everyone needs Good Neighbours!

Location: Daventry District, United Kingdom