New charity to support the vulnerable in rural Peterborough

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A new group has been set up to support poor, sick, elderly, vulnerable or disabled residents in rural Peterborough.

The Good Neighbours – Rural Peterborough Trust will be able to help up to 10,333 households by providing services such as transport, home visiting, befriending and other support to improve health and well-being.

The scheme was originally set up as a new charity in November 2019 but was unable to officially launch due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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In order to speed up its operations in preparation for the second lockdown and beyond, it has recruited a part time co-ordinator to develop and implement operational systems.

The Good Neighbours – Rural Peterborough TrustThe Good Neighbours – Rural Peterborough Trust
The Good Neighbours – Rural Peterborough Trust

Many of Peterborough’s rural communities have already benefited from residents forming a rapid emergency response team to support those in the community that are vulnerable and in need of support throughout the pandemic.

Some of these have registered as mutual aid groups which are providing essential support to vulnerable residents which it is anticipated will be required for many months to come.

Neil Boyce, chair of the Good Neighbours – Rural Peterborough scheme, said: “We are essentially putting a sustainable community support network in place – strong enough to be able to respond to any future emergency situations as well as providing day-to-day ongoing befriending support.

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“The services will not replace those of professional services or larger charities but will compliment and add value to these, creating more resilience within the community that is mutually beneficial for all.

“We aim to proactively support all our volunteers whatever their reasons for joining the scheme, recognising that for some this will provide valuable learning and experience for future job opportunities.”

The areas currently included in the scheme are: Ailsworth, Bainton and Ashton, Castor and Glinton, although further parishes are said to be interested in joining.

Cllr Irene Walsh, Peterborough City Council’s cabinet member for communities, said: “The Good Neighbours scheme is a fantastic example of communities working together to support those in need, particularly in the time of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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“The commitment of the team who have worked so hard to set up the scheme, and the volunteers who have given up their time to help vulnerable members of their communities, is exceptional. I look forward to seeing the scheme go from strength to strength in the future.”

The charity said it will ensure that all activities and outcomes are monitored to help evidence the role of its volunteers as well as the physical and mental improvements for the clients.

These include:

• Improved physical, psychological and mental well-being

• Increased confidence with day-to-day tasks and re-joining social events post-lockdown restrictions

• Reduced isolation

• Improved skills for self-help

• Improved skills to help the local community.

Referrals will be accepted from professionals, individuals or their family and friends (with the client’s consent).

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