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Good Neighbour Newsletter

Welcome to the January issue of the Good Neighbour newsletter.

The Good Neighbours have done amazing work, and this newsletter aims to highlight that.

If you would like to share your Good Neighbour experience with us, please contact Rob at for a chat, or you could write something and submit it. If you choose to write something please try to include:
  • how and why you became a Good Neighbour
  • how many people you have supported and the tasks you carried out for them
  • the impact you think the Good Neighbours have had on the community
  • if anything positive has come out of COVID
Due to space please keep your submission to no more than 300 words.

Thank you for all your hard work.

If you would like to know more about Community Action Derby, then please visit our website.

Table of Contents

Wendy's Volunteering

I became a Good Neighbour volunteer because I am a Carer and I live in the Old Warden’s House at a Derwent Living housing complex. It has 40 flats with a mix of elderly, vulnerable and complex needs residents. This place was an onsite-supported living complex, but now it is only supported by mobile community workers who cover the whole of East Midlands. So as you can imagine, we hardly see anyone, especially now with Covid..
I am a SSAFA volunteer and I manage to get free food parcels which I distribute here at Haslemere Court. I help with any resident needs such as medication collections or even just having a chat with them, as some residents are lonely or have dementia. Unfortunately, I have had to suspend my coffee afternoons, which some of the residents enjoyed. I also have a therapy dog, so many love spending time with him.
So naturally I thought I could help others in the wider community. So far I have done a couple of food collections and medication drop offs.
The positives of lockdown are the great feeling of being helpful and kind towards others, which gives me a rush of self-belief and contentment that I have helped and been a valuable member of the wider community. Plus, my dog gets loads of fuss (which he adores) Getting cards and thanks from others is very rewarding.

Want to be a Good Neighbour?

If you would like to be a Good Neighbour, you can For more information on the Good Neighbour role, please click here and here.

Mark Jensen: Oakwood Local Area Coordinator

What drew you to the LAC role?

Well, I’d worked in Derby for 14 years before I took this role, and I’d only really heard about it about 8 months before I went for an interview. I started to hear little things about the ethos and the approach that the LACs and the people above them were trying to promote.
And it’s the way they work alongside people. It’s about a non-judgemental approach. It’s about working together and working alongside people rather than dictating what sort of methods and what sort of approaches people want to take. Instead of putting it on them, it’s working together to find those solutions.
The more I read into the role, the more excited I became. I was really excited, even during the interview process, where I was able to meet community leaders and just see how passionate people are for enriching the community and working together to give the community a voice. Also, reading some of the literature based on local area coordination and the sort of history of it – I started to become really passionate about it. So that’s what drew me to it. It’s the style of working.

What type of an impact do you think the Good Neighbours have had on the community?

Massive. Huge, huge impact.
Previous to this, at the start of the pandemic, I had heard about the Facebook groups for Covid, where they were helping each other, but I didn’t really see it first-hand.
I’d helped a little bit and then started this role. I went through the list of Good Neighbours and rang people, saying, ‘All right, it’s Mark. I want to talk to you before I come and ask if we can do some work together.’
But the speed at which Good Neighbours pick up these challenges to help people – honestly, it’s within minutes. And there are people that have started good friendships through it.
So the Good Neighbours have had a massive impact. And it’s showed me how community-focused people are in Derby. It’s great. It’s really good.

How do you think the Good Neighbour role is going to evolve post COVID?

I like to look at positives in really difficult situations. And one of these things has been that people always do much together in a crisis. People rush to help each other. So we’ve got a huge amount of people that are helping us, and there’s no way these people will be discarded.
Speaking for myself in Oakwood, I will be involved with the Good Neighbours. I want them to be involved in all the decisions we make going forward. I really, really want to promote a community voice in Oakwood. It worries me that we’ve lost this in this pandemic, and the Good Neighbours, without a doubt, are going to be involved with that.
So that’s one aspect I can say about it, about how we move forward, how we look at services, activities, how the community continues to form – the Good Neighbour will be an intricate part of that.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I want people to know that being a Good Neighbour is not an overly formal thing.

One of my plans for the future – it’s not a huge thing – is to become a part of the community. Even though I’ve worked in Derby and I’ve worked in Chaddesden for a long time, a lot of people don’t know me in Oakwood. So in doing that, I’m going to base myself at St Philips Church, the Community Centre in Oakwood, and Springwood Leisure Centre. So I would like people to know in the future that when we do this, it’s an informal thing.

When I’m there, if you want to come in for a chat, if you want to come in for a cup of tea, just come in. Come in, we’ll talk. The other point about the way I work is that someone might just need to work beside me for a half an hour phone call and that’s it, and I can point them in the right direction. Or it could be a lot longer. It could be that we work together for six months and we set some plans about how we can develop together in the future and do it that way.
I want to get across that I don’t want people to feel that it’s only going to be a phone call, so they won’t bother, or it’s going to be a huge amount of work, so they won’t bother. Any involvement I can support would be great.

Anne's Volunteering

This interview was done by Ruth of The Derwent Diary. The Derwent Diary a quarterly community newsletter for the Derwent area of Chaddesden.

How did you get involved as a Good Neighbour?

First, I’m based at St Philips (Chaddesden). When we first went into lockdown, I prioritised helping out with our congregation and some of the elderly people in the area. Through that I then found out about the Good Neighbour scheme and applied for do that. I’d got a car, so I started answering volunteer requests.

And how many people have you supported?

I don’t really know, because very quickly what happened was one of the calls was to collect food from the central hub to deliver to Aspire. I found myself with a car packed to the roof with cans and cartons which I took to Aspire, and lo and behold next week there was the same message. Later on in the day, there were some calls to deliver parcels, so I started delivering parcels. At that point I think I’d found my new spiritual home.

I have met some amazing people. A lot of the volunteers give up so much time, and they’re so committed. And also a lot of the families that we deliver to, it’s been quite nice to develop a bit of a relationship and check that they’re OK, especially when they’ve got children, or if they're older people on their own. I don’t know how many people they see each week.


Do you know anything about the people you were supporting, like their situations?

It’s good to meet people in situations I might not normally come across, to empathise with what they’re having to manage in their daily lives. You hear on television about schools and school food. Aspire has been asked to provide breakfast for two local schools. It’s good to know we’re able to help with that. It’s also sad to think we have to, that something’s not quite right with the system. That’s made me a bit more aware of some of the difficulties.


Do you think anything good has come out of Covid? For example, do you think it has brought communities closer together?

I think on a local level, it probably has. When I look at the way my neighbours have responded to each other, that has been quite positive. I think perhaps the difficulties that many families have faced has made people more aware of the inequalities that are in our society. Whether it will last, I don’t know.

I think a lot of people got so involved with their gardens last year, got a lot out of it, and the sense of achievement that came with it. You might only have a few pots, but there’s a huge sense of achievement. Hopefully a bit of that will stay – that ‘can do’ attitude and 'we can do it'.


And overall, what type of impact do you think that the Good Neighbours have had on the community?

Well in terms of the food deliveries, I find that the majority of people are extremely grateful for what they get and see it as helpful in sustaining them through difficulties. A number of them will say that – when they can – they have every intention of supporting food banks and suchlike themselves. It has helped to protect the elderly and vulnerable to stay in their own homes.

Hopefully, it has made a local difference. And perhaps it has kept the illness rate down from what it easily could have been. And there are so many people who volunteer in other ways, not necessarily on the scheme but doing neighbour’s shopping. I think there are a lot of people who have enjoyed being helpful and useful.

Early on I offered to phone up and, to be honest, I’m rubbish at that. There are other people I know who are amazing at that. I think for some of the older people who are lonely, befriending someone else in same situation might be the way to go. We’ve got to find our own niche as a volunteer, find out what suits us – otherwise, it becomes an imposition and you don’t really do it as well.

Some nights I flop on the sofa and think, 'I can’t go to bed; its only half past 6!' I get up in the morning and it’s like I’m off to work, and that’s great. Since fist lockdown really I’ve worked there 4 days a week, all day, every day. It’s not so fun in sleeting rain, but on the whole it has been fun. I’m sure I’ve made some different friends. I hope that continues. There’s a lot to be said for volunteering. It’s incredibly rewarding.


To find out more about Aspire or support their valuable work please see their Facebook and their Local Giving pages.

A Poem by Simon Duffy

Kirsty Bentham, the Sinfin Local Area Coordinator, put forward this wonderful poem by Simon Duffy. Simon had read this poem at a Local Area Coordination Network event at the end of last year. For more information about Simon Duffy and his poem, please click here to visit his website.

If they tell you,
You don’t belong
To their club, their class, their country;
Then remember that we all long
For more than hollow spaces
And empty boxes.

Don’t feel small because some small man
Tries to make himself feel bigger
By clinging to some flag
By claiming our fathers’ victories
And denying our fathers’ sins.

We liberate ourselves,
When we see that we belong:
Right here, right now,
Amongst those who’ve found us.
Our citizenship begins
The moment that we claim it;
Don’t let it be defined
By those seeking to deny it.

Let no club, no class, no country
Divide or categorise you.
We are citizens of every place
Where and when
We start to build it.
Our little lives burn brightest
When love and fellowship unite us.

Covid Statistics

Siobhan Horsley of Public Health was kind enough to share Covid statistics for Derby. You can view the document here.

The below image, including the document, shows the number of Covid case that have been diagnosed in the city since early March.

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 (
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

Useful Links & Information

Derby City Council
Derby City Council News
Derby City Local Area Coordinators
Track and Trace Support Payments
NHS Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Derby COVID-19 Mutual Aid Facebook group
Information on the Test and Trace Payment
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Community Action Derby
Shot Tower
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