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Good Neighbour Newsletter

Welcome to 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

Darren's Journey

Good Neighbour

Darren and his wife moved to Derby two years ago, having lived in London all of their lives. Because he was unable to work during lockdown, Darren decided to register as a Good Neighbour. Initially, Donna (the Chaddesden Local Area Coordinator) connected him with an older couple. He did regular shopping for them, calling on them almost every day.

Able to do more

But Darren still felt he was able to help more people in his area. Age UK Derby & Derbyshire happened to need volunteers to sort out donations and deliveries. So as well as supporting his neighbours with tasks, Darren supported Age UK at Chaddesden Park.

Darren met some lovely people and was struck with how friendly everyone was. He was amazed at what they were able to achieve (at times, they were able to sort through over 500 donation bags a day). These donations were being shared with people going through all sorts, such as homelessness and abusive relationships. The feedback on the impact the hard work was having was incredible and as a result (and the fact that the team had a laugh in the process) Darren thoroughly enjoyed himself. 

In need of a job

Although he was getting a lot from volunteering, Darren had to reduce his time helping out because he needed a job. He told his manager so, but the manager was pleased to tell him that a paid role had come up in the organisation as a decorator and handyman within their shops and offices across the area. Having shown his commitment and hard work, Darren was offered the job. Darren was thrilled to have landed it.

The benefits of volunteering

Darren still volunteers as a Good Neighbour and values what it brings him. He has been able to connect with people in his area who he would ordinarily have never met. He is still in contact with the elderly couple he shopped for. Darren is pleased that he met them and is sure that they value his support. He gets on brilliantly with Donna and knows she is around if he needs any advice or if he is worried about anyone he has been connected with.

What Darren loves about the people in Derby is their friendliness, their banter, and their way of just saying what’s on their mind. Darren feels more a part of the community and better connected to his neighbours. His wife volunteers too. Darren highly recommends that people put themselves forward as Good Neighbours.

'To say that it’s brilliant just isn’t enough.'

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.

Donna Brady: Chaddesden Local Area Coordinator

Donna Brady is the Local Area Coordinator (LAC) for the Chaddesden Ward and has been in the role for five years. 

What drew you to the LAC role?

I think it’s a role where you can bring a lot of yourself and can rely on a lot of your skills and knowledge probably not utilised in other roles. I particularly like working with communities and the connections I create with people – these are key things. I’d worked with Neil before and I knew that whatever he would be involved with would be a person-centred approach. And the role is very much driven by the individual. It lands with you and the individual to develop a relationship and work it out together to decide what to do next.


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

I think it’s been absolutely amazing. The volunteers have just been phenomenal.

Chaddesden had their first meeting recently, and those that attended said they feel like they’ve contributed, which they have done massively.
As a team, even across four wards, they’re phenomenal people, and it has sparked some really good and interesting stories of people coming together and becoming friends. There’s more community cohesion. People are more aware of each other. There’s also been a little bit of banter in the Good Neighbour group chats.
It’s just been amazing to meet such positive people who nothing seems to be any trouble for. We’ve been connecting them to the organisations that create the food parcels or do the older people’s dinners or services. Connecting all of that together feels really important, because before they were only services that most people knew about if you needed them and you were lucky enough to stumble across them. Now, they’re much more. I spoke to Aspire this morning: they’re delivering 700 food parcels a week across the city. It’s unprecedented. They wouldn’t have done that normally in a year prior to this.
That community development side of it has been phenomenal. Without the volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to do that. We wouldn’t be able to succeed the way that we have.

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

I’d like to think it moves forward.
In terms of local area coordination work, it would be absolutely amazing if those volunteers were available and that some of them still came forward and wanted to support the community work going forwards. We always try to engage volunteers in the community, but it’s massively, massively difficult. Years ago, for instance, I used to take some older people to a fish and chip Friday group, and it was a massive lifeline for them. But that folded for a lot of people because they needed someone to actually physically build their confidence to get them out the house, down the path and into the taxi, particularly in the dark and colder weather.
Moving forwards, if we had community volunteers who would be prepared to do something like that – providing transport, walking with people, supporting people or checking in on their neighbours in some way – I think it would transform lives and keep people much more well at home and connected with their community. That would therefore have less strain on services, and inevitably there would be less social care packages.

Mark's Support

Mark Booton is a Good Neighbour who supports the Chaddesden, Spondon and Oakwood wards. Fun fact: Mark used to be Donna Brady’s teacher.

How did you get involved as a Good Neighbour?

I’m a member of Saint Alban's Church in Chaddesden, and Father David, the parish priest, asked if there was anybody willing to do anything for parishioners and I told him that I would help out and asked if there was any other way to help too. He mentioned the Good Neighbours with Derby City and suggested I get in contact with them. And that’s how I got involved really. So it was partly through the Parish, which I continue to do, as well as through the Derby Community Support Hub.

And how many people have you supported?

It would be four or five people in total.
One was for quite a long time all the way through the first lockdown by phone calls and shopping. It was Donna Brady who got in touch with me to say that there was this gentleman in Chaddesden who needed a phone call, so I rang him and kept in touch twice a week and did shopping for him on a Friday. So that was quite a long-term one.
I did prescriptions for one person. I did some shopping and prescriptions for another person. Prescription for another one.
I’ve delivered food parcels, as well, from Aspire near St Mark’s Church. I took some parcels to different people.


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

One gentleman in Oakwood was shielding, so that’s why I got the prescriptions and shopping for him.
There was an elderly lady who I got shopping for.

Then this other gentleman – his wife had died in January – had been told to shield because if he got Covid it was likely to go on to his chest, and he suffered very badly with his chest. So he needed support in terms of befriending. We got on really well. It was half an hour at a time on the phone, chatting about different things. He was very much in to nature. He told me about a couple of TV programmes to do with Yorkshire that were on television that I watched.

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

It would be wonderful to think that people will remain in touch and that this will continue, because I think that it’s made people think about other people rather than just being very focused on themselves and that it’s given people more opportunity to think about others.

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

Personally, I think it’s been wonderful. What I have found is that the people I’ve supported have been really thankful for the support, and I would say that the same has been for other people who have helped.

Toni in Derwent

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

Toni is a Move More Mentor employed by Derby City Council to work on promoting physical activity in the Derwent Ward of Derby. During Covid, Move More Mentors were seconded to the community hubs in Derwent, Sinfin and Alvaston.

Toni’s job – alongside her Move More work – is to keep an eye on the database for the Derwent area one day a week. When anyone comes through from Derby Direct in need of support, she gives them a ring to first sort out any emergencies (like food or electricity) and later chats with them about any longer-term support too. This could be signposting to debt advice services, or helping with picking up prescriptions or shopping.

‘You’re speaking to people at their lowest point, when they don’t know where to turn,’ she says. ‘You hear some awful stories and sometimes it doesn’t make you feel good, but other times you find out that the help you’ve given has really turned someone’s life around.’

Once the help needs have been established, Toni puts the call out to the Good Neighbour volunteers. She sees the volunteers as absolutely central: ‘I love dealing with volunteers and matching people up’. She is there to call if anyone has a problem but tries to get the balance right so volunteers feel looked after while not feeling put upon.

This week – mid-December 2020 – volunteers have been in and out of Chad Park helping to deliver Christmas Cheer hampers (organised by the Neighbourhood Officers) which include cards, an art gift, and access to a Variety Show, as well as food.

Toni thinks Covid has shown just how important a localised response has been, a collaboration between partner organisations and the community, and thinks this model will be built on as we go forward.

Toni can’t praise the volunteers enough: ‘They’re absolutely amazing, so supportive and helpful, none of this could’ve happened without them’.

It seems odd that Toni has hardly met any volunteers face-to-face – although she knew some of the volunteers before Covid. Maybe there’ll be more face-to-face meetings in the New Year, as Toni is involved in a local initiative called Fit + Fab Derwent, which is trialling a walking group from Sussex Circus in January. They have also set up a map of 20 orienteering points in Derwent. Find out more from their Facebook page!

Good Neighbour Catch Up

Join us for a Good Neighbour catch up by Teams. This is an opportunity for all Good Neighbours from different wards to get together, share experiences and talk about how we can continue the amazing voluntary action within your communities.
A link to Teams will be sent out by email and WhatsApp. You don’t have to download Teams to join the meeting – simply click on the link within the message.
Alvaston & Boulton: Tuesday 12 January 2021, 6pm
Sinfin & Chellaston: Wednesday 13 January 2021, 6pm
Littleover & Blagreaves: Tuesday 19 January 2021, 6pm
Darley & Allestree: Wednesday 20 January 2021, 6pm

Mark Jensen: Oakwood Local Area Coordinator

I would like to introduce myself as the new Local Area Coordinator for Oakwood in Derby and give a brief outline of my role as a LAC.
My name is Mark Jensen and I’ve worked in the Derby area for 14 years. Prior to my role as an LAC, I worked at The Integrated Disabled Children's Service in Chaddesden.
Local Area Coordination can help by:
  • Listening to you so I understand what will make life better for you
  • Making it easier for you to get the information, support and services you need
  • Helping with problems you may have as well as supporting you to find new things to do
  • Helping you to meet new people, connect with old friends and be more involved in your community.
  • Discussing issues in the community and how we can all work together to solve them, all coming together to make sure the Oakwood community has a voice.
I will be arranging drop-in times at Springwood Leisure Centre, St Philips Church and Nottingham Road Fire Station and would welcome anyone to pop in for a chat when the tiers allow this. 
Alternatively, please call or email me using the contact details below.
I look forward to meeting you.


Interested in doing more volunteering to help out in your community?

Then please visit the national volunteering website, Do-it, or contact the Volunteer Centre here at Community Action Derby by contacting us on 01332 346266 or at

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
Each year Derby City Council work with partners to deliver the City Council's Stay Warm and Well in Derby program to try and help vulnerable people to keep warm, safe and well at home through the cold winter months.

For more information, please click here.
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