Rushmere Good Neighbour Scheme is a recently established organisation that aims to improve the lives of people living in the Northgate Ward in Ipswich and the Rushmere St Andrew area. Safe and effective running of Rushmere Good Neighbour Scheme will enable the community to support and empower themselves, developing a service that is suitable for those who live in the area and designed to meet their needs. Regular updates through Facebook and a Nextdoor Whatsapp group keep local residents up to date with essential services available to them.
Michelle Jones, Chair of Rushmere Good Neighbour Scheme, was delighted when she received a telephone call from Suffolk Community Foundation informing her that the scheme had been awarded a grant from the Suffolk Coronavirus Community Fund. The grant will enable the organisation to cover their start-up costs in order to assist local residents, particularly those who are elderly or shielding, with shopping, collecting prescriptions and signposting to shops which take online orders. Volunteers also offer support and befriending over the phone to relieve isolation and hope to extend their services to include dog walking and light gardening. The committee of Rushmere GNS see the scheme as having wide reaching effects and want to link residents into existing community or faith groups so that they can build a support network and feel connected to their neighbours.
This week Michelle received a phone call from a local resident who needed help with shopping. Not only was the lady able to get some much-needed food supplies, but Michelle, as the duty phone holder, was able to check how she was. Lucy, one of Rushmere GNS’s most active volunteers, completed the shopping and this provided the lady with another opportunity to chat to Lucy on the doorstep.
Rushmere Good Neighbour Scheme was formed initially as an informal support group through social media during the Covid-19 pandemic, but local residents and churches wanted the community support to be a lasting legacy of this challenging time. A committee was formed and with the support of Jane Arkley-Crouch, Good Neighbour Scheme Coordinator at Community Action Suffolk, the group made steps to form into an official Good Neighbour Scheme.