Good neighbour befriending scheme
The Good Neighbour Scheme is an initiative spearheaded by Age UK Dudley and dedicated to reducing the social isolation and loneliness experienced by many older people through the Dudley Borough. Support is offered through regular visits from a trained and dedicated volunteer team.
All our good neighbour volunteers are trained and supported to enable older people to lead a more satisfying later life. The volunteer’s role could be enabling a visually impaired person to respond to their mail or just simply to sit and have a cup of tea and a chat. Having someone to talk to for perhaps even one hour a week can boost an individual’s confidence greatly.
In many cases the individual receives only paid visitors, such as "Homecare" or a `meals on wheels` service.
Age UK Dudley`s good neighbours, through regular visits and telephone calls form a vital link with the outside world.
The Good Neighbour Scheme is looking for people who are able to spare one hour a week to befriend an older person at risk of isolation and loneliness. As a Good Neighbour you may choose to visit someone who lives alone in their own home to have a chat and a cup of tea. You may like to be part of our Home Buddy scheme and visit someone who lives in Supported Accommodation, or you may wish to become one of our Telephone Buddy Scheme, designed to offer friendship over the telephone.
If you are interested in volunteering with the Good Neighbour Scheme please visit our volunteering pages for more information.
With regular support we enable older people to remain independent.
The Good Neighbour Scheme is a flexible client led service that caters for the needs of the client rather than a `one size fits all` approach to eldercare.
Comments from our clients
"My good neighbour takes me out for a walk and helps me with silly little things, like reaching items in the house that I cannot do. I cannot walk outside unaided so it is helping me keep mobile and to get some fresh air. I have made a very good friend of my helper and I always look forward to her vists." Mrs B of Kingswinford
"Oh, the good neighbour scheme has made such a difference to my life, he brings new ideas into my life and we do lots of different things. Meeting him was like a bolt from the blue and a blessing." Miss H of Halesowen
"This means I have a friend, someone to talk to who understands my needs and I look forward to the visits. I feel safe and secure knowing someone cares. It is a shame we cannot find even more volunteers to help."
To qualify for the scheme:
· You must be aged over 60, living alone within the Dudley Borough and receiving no more than three unpaid visitors each week.
· Priority will be given to people who are housebound or who experience great difficulty in leaving the house.
· Priority will also be given to those not attending day centres or social clubs.
Unfortunately we are unable to assist people experiencing mental health problems as our volunteers are not specialists in this area.
As with all good services we do have a waiting list. However, good neighbour scheme staff will maintain regular communication with all clients from the waiting list, either through telephone calls or regular visits.
If you think you or someone you know would qualify and would like to receive more information about the service, please call us and we would be happy to chat with you over the telephone or send you information in the post.
Partnership working in action
The good neighbour scheme works closely with many organisations including Social Services, Visual Impairment Team, Health Visitors, Community Health Nurses and the Occupational Therapy Department.
Many referrals are received from these organisations and the scheme is in regular contact with them to ensure the scheme benefits as many older people as possible.