Another goodwill scheme starts in Arlesey

The good neighbourhood scheme is being rolled out across Central Beds

The good neighbourhood scheme is being rolled out across Central Beds - Credit: Archant

A volunteer group which harnesses community spirit to provide help and support to vulnerable people in the community is being set up in Arlesey.

The Good Neighbourhood Scheme is due to be given a hearty kick-start on Valentine’s Day, and from February 14 village volunteers will be offering to help run errands for elderly and disabled people who live in the area.

Similar schemes have already been rolled out across the Central Beds area, and around 40 groups are already operating in towns and villages covered by the unitary authority.

One group in Shefford has now been running for more than a year, and volunteer Diane Collins says it’s going ‘wonderfully’.

Diane said: “It was quite slow to start with, but now we have 20 volunteers. I’ve had three calls already this morning with people asking for help. As well as helping others, it’s very sociable work. I’ve made a lot of friends through it.”

Rosie Kind, community development officer for the Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity which helps set up the groups, said: “The scheme can help to lessen the impact on a community caused by the decline in services such as public transport, post offices and doctor’s surgeries.

“People are so grateful for the work volunteers do. People have made friends with each other, it’s a wonderful thing.

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“We’ve got almost the entire area of Central Beds involved.”

Volunteers, who are DBS – Disclosure and Barring Service – checked, work on a rota to carry out jobs such as giving people lifts to the doctors or posting letters.

Rosie added: “Some people who rely on the services provided can become volunteers themselves. Someone might be able to write a letter but not be able to give a lift if they are immobile.”

Rosie and colleague Mike Fayers support the volunteers as they get the scheme up and running. They supply templates for all the forms required and help volunteers apply for the £300 start -up grant which covers the cost of public liability insurance, a mobile phone and printing costs.

If you are interested in setting up a scheme in your area, email Rosie Kind at rosiek@bedsrcc.org.uk or call her on 01234 834936.

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