Embsay Good Neighbours

Embsay, Skipton

Your story

Volunteers in Embsay and Eastby villages, providing local help to residents under a “Good Neighbours” scheme.

Group introduction

To provide the residents of Embsay and Eastby with short-term help such as local transport, domestic support, household assistance and befriending through local volunteers. Thus encouraging independence, self-help and friendship within the local community.

Towards the end of 2015, in conjunction with Age UK and Rural Action Yorkshire and with the participation of our vicar and our local North Yorkshire County Council councillor, a Steering Committee of six members was established, a constitution drawn up and a bank account opened. The committee then agreed the necessary procedures and documentation required to implement and run the initiative and to comply with insurance requirements. Following a publicity campaign, 29 residents registered their interest in volunteering.

The Good Neighbours scheme aims to help the more isolated older people in the community, thus reducing isolation and loneliness and helping to promote independence amongst those who have been 'harder to reach'.

Most recent data indicates that Embsay has a higher proportion of older residents than the national average. Of the total population of 1,895, 495 or 26% are aged over 65. The population census of 2011 also indicated that 190 were aged 75-89 and 21 were aged 90 or above. There are 245 pensioner households and 126 of these are pensioners living alone. One hundred pensioner households have no private transport and 40 claim pension credit.

In addition to the elderly population, Good Neighbours aims to help other vulnerable groups. These include 25 people who claim incapacity benefit or employment support allowance for disabled people unable to work, 50 residents who claim disability living allowance, 10 who claim mental health related benefits, 252 who provide unpaid care of more than 1 hour per week and 46 who provide more than 50 hours of unpaid care per week.

The statistics that are available indicate that there is a significant population that would benefit from the initiative and the Good Neighbours scheme is very much aware that loneliness and isolation are not necessarily restricted to the elderly but can affect all age groups , hence the scheme is open to all.

How would this funding have an impact on your community?

The Good Neighbours group was set up early in 2016 with initial assistance and funding from Rural Action Yorkshire and advice, support and volunteer training from Age UK. The RAY grant covered start-up costs for insurance and DBS checks. We also raised some money from a coffee morning and bake off competition held to publicise the new scheme. The bake off was judged by one of the Calendar Girls as shown in the uploaded image.

In order to make the scheme sustainable, we have also secured a grant from NYCC to train two volunteers as “in house” trainers so that the initiative will be able to continue as new volunteers join the scheme in the future. All volunteers need to be trained to ensure that we comply with insurance requirements and that we do not endanger either our members or those who seek our help.

If EGN were successful in receiving a grant under this scheme the funding would be used to support the early stages of development of the initiative and provide the financial security needed to get the group firmly established. The funding would enable us to continue to build on the enthusiasm and desire to help others evidenced by the number of residents who have shown an interest in getting involved within the villages. The grant would allow us to hold community social events to publicise the group’s activities and services offered as well as providing an opportunity for isolated people to socialise. Once the scheme is fully established, our general running costs would be covered by the usual fund-raising activities such as coffee mornings.

It is difficult at this juncture to know how many people will seek help but our expectation, based on our survey of needs, is that we would be actively supporting 30 to 40 people by the end of the first year of operation. The number of initial volunteers and their desire to help demonstrates that there is both the opportunity and ability to reinforce the sense of community within the two villages. The addition of developing the befriending and mentoring aspect of the scheme will further enhance this sense of community.

"A Grassroots donation from the Skipton Building Society would be a huge positive endorsement for the scheme and objectives of community building in the villages of Embsay and Eastby.

Robin Culver, Treasurer, Embsay Good Neighbours"

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