Byfield Village Good Neighbour Scheme 2 Apr 2020
Mother and daughter six months ahead of the game
Rachel Johnston Regional Director of Stack Property Search and her mum, have set up a village Good Neighbour Scheme in October, little did they know that they would be thanking their lucky stars within 6 months! Rachel liked the idea of ‘help and be helped’ with the emphasis that there is something that everyone can do for others, even if they need a bit of help on other things!
The whole village getting involved
Rachel comments, “thank goodness Byfield as a whole village stepped up to support the Scheme in its modest beginnings, as it meant that we could scale up very quickly to help the village, both those isolating and those distancing, developing a ‘Volunteer Protocol’ – a system where we can continue to help our neighbours without increasing the risk of infection for them or for us”.
Rachel has co-ordinated a 1+1 Shopping Group’ on WhatsApp with 43 ‘hunter/gatherers’ – orders come in centrally, the group is informed and if they are out doing their own family’s shopping, they get ‘1 for them, and 1 for the Scheme’.
Prescription phone orders being delivered
The ‘Shopping Captain’ collates and arranges deliveries around the village each afternoon and additionally will be delivering the phone orders from the village Co-op. They have been collecting prescriptions for villagers for months, but now they do a daily round from the Surgery to reduce footfall at the surgery building. There is also a dedicated car, which is cleaned between trips to take some villagers for their surgery for appointments.
Sharing baking ideas
Rachel is setting up a website, this will enable to share the village’s ideas for ‘remote, together’ activities such as Skype Family Fortunes competitions, their next initiative is ‘Share our Shed’. If you have a blocked drain suddenly in the coming weeks, they can put out a request, everyone can check their shed for drain un-blocker, and a night-time ‘end of drive’ pickup will be arranged. Self-isolating villagers and volunteers are still enabled to be included, for example, in sourcing useful items for the wide group to deliver – e.g. printer paper, or board games (after a suitable period of quarantine!) – or chatting to others in the same situation. We even have a 93 year old who has offered to chat to young mums struggling to invent a meal from their pantries!
Villagers are comforted by the support.
It’s now a full time, 7 day a week job for Rachel, and the whole community is stepping up. We’ve been amazed at the upwelling of support and the villagers have been comforted to know that there is someone out there to turn to, as are their families stuck at a distance.
The Northants Good Neighbour Schemes have been supported with money and guidance from Daventry District Council and Northants ACRE has resources available for volunteer organisations scrambling to help.