How did you get involved as a Good Neighbour?
I got in contact with the Derby Community Hub after lockdown 1 was announced. I was in a position of trying to set up my own micropub, and that had obviously slowed. I wanted to do something and feel useful. Covid left me with a lot more time on my hands. So that was how I decided to give some help.
And how many people have you supported?
Well, a number of one-off requests that have come through the Whatsapp group – whether that’s for prescriptions or small shops. And I regularly support two vulnerable couples who are elderly, and then one recently widowed elderly lady. And then there’s one disabled elderly lady who I speak with over the phone and, as and when I can, I help her get out of the house in a wheelchair or electric scooter.
Do you think anything good as come out of Covid?
I think so. I think in many ways it has brought back that sense of community. I think given that we’re all very busy spending time at home with loved ones or on our own, we very rarely tend to interact with as many neighbours as we should do. I think that’s changed. I know the people that live in my area a bit better now. We interact more when I’m out walking for my daily exercise. More people seem willing to stop and say hello. It feels friendlier. I think we’ve all seen and reflected a bit on what it means to look out for one another, more so than we used to when we all felt so busy and unable to stop, or we would feel we were infringing on someone if we asked if they were OK. As I said, I think now that’s all changed.
And I think the people that I support would agree as well. It’s nice to see so many people offering themselves and coming with up different things. For instance, a local primary school put daffodils on benches on popular walking routes to try and bring smiles to people’s faces. Well, it certainly did for me. I thought it was a really simple but heart-warming gesture. People are doing things like this more often.
What area did they do this in?
I know I saw them in Millennium Wood. I think people commented that they saw them in Clemson's Park, and I think it was in King George V Park as well. They were all along the benches and dotted along the paths.
And equally, locally, we’ve had book shares, jigsaw shares, and people offering clothes or food. And it hasn’t necessarily all come from the local authority – which, by the way, I think a lot more people have more faith in now than they did before. They appreciate now who their local councillors are and what they can actually do for them..
Are there any other types of impact you think the Good Neighbours have had on the community?
I think it’s been really positive. It’s been nice to actually meet the volunteers. It’s a further way of connecting with people of like mind in the area. I really hope that this type of initiative – whether it stays the same in that format or not – is here for good. Because I think it is needed.
I think there are more people in need than perhaps would ever ask for help or, as a society, there are parts we’ve not paid attention to. Now more people are showing that they are willing to give themselves to help others, and that isn’t just because of Covid.
As I said, community is definitely back. I think inherently we are good people, and I think more of us are feeling able to show that. So I sincerely hope that programmes like the Good Neighbour one sticks around and doesn’t go anywhere.
I believe it will. Because at one point the role was called Covid Volunteer, but they wanted to remove Covid from the name because the idea was to continue with this after the pandemic, to keep communities strong and to ensure that support for those who need it continued.
Yeah, I thought that might be why it changed midway through. But that’s good to hear. I think it’s invaluable, and unfortunately, with the global pandemic and national issues outside of Covid – Brexit, for instance – the economy is going to really struggle for a while. I think again that the people that have struggled now will likely continue to struggle a while longer, and there’ll probably be thousands more people who lose jobs or really struggle financially. So I think even more than just Covid, communities will have to really fight to keep each other going and support one another.
Are there any other comments you would like to make regarding your Good Neighbour experience?
Nothing other than saying about the people I look after. I’ve been looking after them for 9 months now. I think we’ve become a group of friends, which to me isn’t what I anticipated would happen. I see them as friends; they see us as friends.
My partner and I sometimes take on odd jobs and will take our dog with us to see them. And they are truly appreciative of what we do and with the fact that local authorities and local people have come up with the idea of offering this kind of support. Yeah, it’s something I thought I wouldn’t have enjoyed as much as I have and got as much out of as I am doing. And it’s something that when my business starts up I will continue to do.
It’s kind of made me reflect on things, and I’m glad that the people who need support find it valuable.
Want to be a Good Neighbour?
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For more information on the Good Neighbour role, please click here and here.
I volunteered to help because I knew how scared people were. I was scared, so imagine how scared the elderly were? People needed help. People needed their medicine, and some people just needed to talk.
I’ve lost count of the amount of people I have helped, but the self-satisfaction is the ultimate reward. To see them smile, to see the joy and to see the relief made me appreciate what I had done and how, as a community, what we had done had brought us together. I had to drag an old man out of his vehicle after he crashed and put him into the recovery position. Thankfully, he started to breath.
I spoke to another person who was going through hell. His father was nonresponsive in hospital. He had no idea what was going on with his father and was not allowed to go to the hospital. But with me calling him and meeting him outside and just listening helped him cope. They told him to turn the machine off, as there was no chance. Amazingly, he got a call from the hospital: there had been positive progress. This literally brought a tear to my eye hearing this.
When I dropped off medicine for an elderly lady, she called me back. She just wanted to talk. She was crying, and afterwards I reassured her that we were here to talk and listen too. She smiled and felt a lot better. This has to be the most rewarding moment of my life.
To help the community when they most want us is priceless. I’m so proud that the Good Neighbour project has allowed me to participate and I would like to thank you all.
Thank you so much!
Lateral Flow Test
The Lateral Flow Test (LFT) is available for all essential workers in Derby City, and this includes people carrying out essential volunteer work.
As Good Neighbours you are in this category, and it is recommended that you have a test weekly.
If you are active in your community by supporting neighbours, you should consider taking the test to reduce the risk of contracting and spreading Covid-19. The test is quick, easy and completely free.
Click here to find out more about the Lateral Flow Test, and click here to book a test.
Please note that if you have symptoms, have had Covid in the last 90 days, have had a positive result in the last 10 days, or are meant to be self-isolating, you should NOT book a Lateral Flow Test.
Jacqui on the Lateral Flow Test & Volunteering
Tell us about your experience of getting a Lateral Flow Test (LFT). What was the process like?
It’s really cheered me up.
I booked it online, which was really easy – I think I could have gone on the same day, to be honest, but I was busy on Monday. So I booked it for Tuesday at 12.30pm, turned up, booked in. Then you have to fill in a little questionnaire on your phone (but they tell you which bits you can skip) and then you go to your booth and there’s somebody behind the screen who tells you what to do and gives you a swab. You do it yourself. It’s not half as horrible as it looks when you see it on television. I’ve got quite a bad gag reflex, but it was absolutely fine.
As I say, my appointment was 12.30pm – I got my results by text at 1.07pm. But the part that amazes me is that they had booths (I think for either 30 or 40 people at once) and I was the only person in there being tested – which seems such a shame, because we need to pick up the people that are asymptomatic. And the good news is, when I’ve taken medication and food and clothes to people, I know in the past I’ve not taken Covid as well.
I just really recommend that anyone go. They did ask me who I worked for (I got the feeling that they were just offering it to certain people). Clearly I was eligible anyway, because I had the email from Kate. But they’re so underused that I think they would test anybody.
And this is how we’re going to stamp it out: by finding the people that are passing it on and not realising it.
But it was nice to know, because I did a food delivery yesterday and I knew it was highly unlikely that I’d passed it on to anybody by going to the foodbank and then going to the person. So I just really, really recommend people go.
Is there anything else you would like to add about the test?
Get yourself down there – it’s brilliant!
And all right, we then went to Sainsbury’s and my daughter said, ‘Well you could have picked it up in Sainsbury’s.’ Yeah, but I know I haven’t given it to my 73-year-old dog walking chum – at least he’s had one jab, so that’s all good.
As I say, people need to just have it. Because then you know, and knowing is much better than not knowing. Because it’s the uncertainty of it all that’s distressing.
Now on to your volunteering. How did you first get involved as a Good Neighbour?
I think I must have seen it in the DerbyTelegraph – I think they were just setting up this Good Neighbour scheme. And I’m sitting at home, and I can drive, and I can go do people’s shopping, and I can go to the chemist. So I thought I may as well just make the most of it.
And once I’d started doing it, it was actually really nice, because people are generally very grateful. When you turn up with, say, food or clothing, you just think you’re doing something good.
I’ve got a friend who’s brilliant: she makes clothes, and she’s able to make scrubs. Well, I can’t sow for toffee. And I’ve got another friend who had a current DBS check, so she was able to go and help at the university. Mine was out of date, so that was no use.
So it was something I could do. You want to do something, I think. It’s a frustration not being able to do anything, which was alleviated by being a Good Neighbour.
How many people do you think you’ve supported in total? Do you have regulars, by the way?
No, no, it’s very random.
In the beginning it was quite sad, because I think they had a massive amount of people who volunteered, so when they put a task out, it was a bit like fastest finger on Who Wants to be a Millionaire. So I wasn’t as active in the beginning.
And then gradually people have gone back to work, so I’ve done more in the last six months than I did in the first six months, that’s for sure.
But I don’t have regulars, per se. Oh, mind you, I’m going to a man next Wednesday who I went to yesterday, because he wants more food next week.
And do you think anything good has come out of Covid?
That’s an interesting question. I’m quite taken aback by how efficient various medical procedures are. For example, my dog walking chum had to go for a blood test a few months ago, and in the old days you used to turn up and sit there with your ticket, like in a supermarket deli, and wait to go in. And now they’ve got it so he was in and out in seven minutes.
And the other day my daughter had to have some stitches out, and she got out of the car at 3.06pm and was back in the car at 3.09pm. Now, I went for my flu jab and it was the same sort of thing. It was straight in, jab, out.
So it shows that where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Overall, what type of impact do you think the Good Neighbours have had on the community?
Oh, they’ve been fantastic, because the people that I’ve seen – they’re so grateful. And it’s only little things. And it’s not a big deal to me: I’ve got all day. I’m just playing computer games, going mad.
So I think it’s been fantastic. And I think it will continue once the pandemic has receded. I think there will still be elements of people like me that want to help people if they can.
Volunteer Training Opportunities
In partnership with Derby College, Community Action is launching a new training package that you may find interesting and could support your voluntary role. The modules are 2 hours of guided learning each, and there are links to further learning if wanted. You can study in your own time and at your own pace. At the end of each module there are multiple choice quizzes that will assess your learning. On completion of each module you will receive a Derby College certificate.
What you can learn?
Food Hygiene and Food Allergens
This module gives the learner a great overview of all aspects food handling and different diets. This short course would be useful for volunteers who are shopping for people particularly it they need to buy foods that don’t have certain ingredients in them due to allergies.
Customer Service, Communication & Conflict Resolution
Brush up on your communication skills, gain an understanding of different attitudes and professionalism in volunteering.
Equality & Diversity and General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)
Equality and diversity promotes equal opportunity for all – everyone has different needs and capabilities – not only essential information for volunteering but in life too. The GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation – module deals with the importance of handling data and how it should be stored.
How to Enrol
Simply click on the link below to register and fill in your information, once your information has been processed you will be sent a workbook on the module you have chosen.
Application Start - Derby College (derby-college.ac.uk)
If you have any problems then please contact Sue Long on 01332 387465
Volunteer Stewards Needed!
Would you like to be part of the biggest vaccination programme in the history of the UK?
Derby Arena is the largest Covid vaccination centre in Derbyshire and needs volunteers to act as stewards.
If you would like more information, please click here or email email@example.com