Become a Derby Good Neighbour and help a neighbour in need this winter

Published: 21 October 2020

Housing estate

Derby City Council and Community Action Derby are calling on residents to become a Derby Good Neighbour and help a neighbour in need this winter and make a difference to someone in our fight against COVID-19, mental health and winter loneliness.

During the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown we were overwhelmed by the kindness, generosity and selflessness of Derby citizens and as cases begin to rise across the country and the city enters the colder months we’re calling on you to help out again by working with the Community Hub or by helping directly with someone on your street or in your neighbourhood who may need support or just someone to talk to.

From the launch of the Community Hub at the end of March over 1000 people in the city signed up to offer support and were matched with those who requested support, helping out with deliveries, collections, befriending and other support.

As more and more people have returned to work, unfortunately the numbers of those available to offer support have dropped, and whilst Shielding is still officially paused, we still have many vulnerable, elderly and sometimes scared residents who need our help. As we come into winter it’s more important than ever to build a network of Good Neighbours across the city as people stay in their homes more and loneliness can become even more of an issue.

If you think you can spare some time to support someone in need but don’t have anyone directly on your street, then call into the Community Hub on 01332 640000 and we’ll do our best to match you with someone local.

If you don’t want to sign up formally you can still help. We all have neighbours and they don’t have to be elderly or look vulnerable to be struggling, you can’t see loneliness or mental health issues, so whomever your neighbour is why not say hello, strike up a conversation and see if they are ok or need anything? Pop a note through the door to introduce yourself with an offer of help or maybe buy an extra Christmas card or two this year. With the rise in cases and the long winter ahead, it may be a worrying time for a lot of residents so that reassurance may make all the difference.

Over the summer, we heard some fantastic stories both from those receiving support and those who had volunteered. For example, David and Laura. David is an elderly gentleman who lives on his own, his wife passed away some years ago. He was shielding and was matched with Laura, who said:

“I am so happy to have met David, he is an absolute gentleman, I ring him every week, and sometimes he will ring me, just for a chat. I visit him every week and drop his shopping at the door, he is always so grateful. The other day, he had added on some sweets to his shopping list, he said “those are for you Laura, to say thank you”.

“I feel like I have adopted David, and I will definitely be keeping in touch with him after all of this settles down. David told me that by me contacting him, it has given him a reason to live, he looks forward to my calls and it helps him a lot, and I have changed his outlook on life. I have asked him to make a list of all the things he wants to do after COVID-19, and I am going to help him do it.”

Councillor Roy Webb, Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Housing said:

We’re asking people to “Do the Right Thing for Derby” to combat the spread of coronavirus this winter and this really is part of that. Looking out for one another street by street, neighbours helping neighbours. I’ve heard some fantastic stories about how rewarding it is to help out and it’s so easy to get involved. Maybe you too can make a real difference to someone’s life.

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