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North Walsham’s neighbouring scheme celebrates second anniversary with county award

Peter Tobitt of the 
North Walsham Good Neighbour Scheme collecting their In Good Company Approved Award from Wendy Thomson (Far Left) and Chairman of NCC John Ward. Picture: Julian Claxton

Peter Tobitt of the North Walsham Good Neighbour Scheme collecting their In Good Company Approved Award from Wendy Thomson (Far Left) and Chairman of NCC John Ward. Picture: Julian Claxton

Copyright (c) Julian Claxton Photography 2017.

North Walsham’s Good Neighbour Scheme has marked its second anniversary with a prestigious award, recognising its contribution to combating loneliness in the community.

Last October the scheme was one of seven organisations across Norfolk honoured with the County Council’s ‘In Good Company’ Quality Mark Plus awards, recognising its work above and beyond the scope of its original remit of providing one-off practical help with everyday essential tasks.

These include lifts to the doctor or shops, visiting a relative in hospital, clearing an overgrown garden, filling in a difficult form, walking a dog or changing a light bulb.

But the scheme has expanded to offer befriending services, supporting vulnerable residents in a community which has a high proportion of older people living on their own.

Scheme chairman Peter Tobitt said: “As a result of North Walsham Town Council inviting us to have a stall at the Christmas Lights switch-on in December, we were able to further increase our profile and we had expressions of interest from six new volunteers, three of whom are already trained and ready to go out and help our neighbours.

“Last winter, in addition to its existing work in helping our neighbours in the community, we took an active part in the “Staying Well This Winter” campaign, working alongside other groups who engage with vulnerable people, such as GPs’ surgeries and dementia and carers’ groups.”

Mr Tobitt added: “We aim to help build community spirit and a sense of belonging, which is so important for all of us, and especially for those living alone.”

The North Walsham Good Neighbour Scheme is managed and delivered by a team of committed volunteers and has so far completed almost 700 tasks helping local residents.

There are now 30 trained volunteers involved but extra help is always welcome, even more so during the winter months when older residents especially are at their most vulnerable, and as the on-going good work expands.

If you could help as a volunteer, or if you think the scheme could help you, or someone you know, please call 01692 558321 or visit www.nwgoodneighbour.org.uk

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