Good Neighbour Scheme strengthens community ties in Daventry district

Mary-Jane Brown gives a talk at an event focussing on falls prevention at Moulton Village Hall
Mary-Jane Brown gives a talk at an event focussing on falls prevention at Moulton Village Hall

A new strategy to improve the lives of older people living in Daventry district is already paying dividends with the success of an initiative in Moulton.

Daventry District Council has launched its Ageing Well in Daventry District Strategy 2017-21 which was developed to help older residents lead independent, healthy and active lives for as long as possible in their own homes.

The strategy was shaped using feedback from more than 600 older residents as well as a range of different organisations, and sets out seven aims along with the actions needed to help achieve them.

They include improving access to transport and services, reducing the impact of social isolation and loneliness and helping people to lead healthy, active and independent lifestyles.

Councillor Alan Hills, portfolio holder for community, culture and leisure, said: “We want Daventry district to be a place where residents can ‘age well’ and enjoy a great quality of life in their later years.

“The Good Neighbour Scheme is just one of a number of projects being put in place in order to achieve that, and I’m pleased to see the positive impact it is clearly having in Moulton.

“Additional schemes are also being set up in Braunston and Crick and we would like to spread this right across our district, so I woud urge anyone who is keen to set up a scheme in their village to get in touch.”

One of the scheme’s aims is to reduce the impact of social isolation and loneliness, something which is already being tackled in Moulton thanks to the Good Neighbour Scheme.

Developed by the district council in partnership with Northamptonshire ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England), the scheme’s aim is to offer practical help to older people, either through befriending or assisting with household chores or transport.

It is co-ordinated in Moulton by Mary-Jane Brown, a community connector who is working alongside Moulton Parish Council and Moulton Surgery to improve health and wellbeing in the village and its surrounding area.

They have ten volunteers signed up so far, each giving between two and six hours per month to help establish the scheme and run events. They will start offering befriending and other services once the relevant checks and training are complete.

Mary-Jane said: “The Moulton Good Neighbour Scheme has a growing group of enthusiastic volunteers who are keen to befriend isolated people in our area and help out at Health & Wellbeing events in the new Community Centre.

“From serving refreshments, meeting and greeting to taking photographs and setting up sound equipment, each volunteer has different skills to offer and we work very well as a team. The scheme has strengthened ties and built up a stronger sense of community.”

Support, guidance and funding is on offer to all parish councils, residents’ groups or other kinds of community organisations in Daventry district that are interested in starting a Good Neighbour Scheme.

For more information, contact Daventry District Council on 01327 871100 or Northamptonshire ACRE on 01604 765888.