Darlington Partnership decided that ‘Developing a Good Neighbour Scheme’ would be its single Action Priority for 2013 – 14. The Partnership had already been deliberating how it could support elderly and vulnerable people in the community and therefore agreed that it would like to see an early focus on these groups.
The Partnership fostered discussions between Durham Constabulary and Age UK Darlington in exploring how Neighbourhood Watch might play a part in a good neighbour scheme.
The following organisations are fund the first year as a pilot:
And the ‘ Good Friends’ scheme was launched in October 2013.
A network of Good Friends has been established across Darlington, these people keep a watchful eye on their older and vulnerable neighbours, providing support and friendship and assisting them with a range of issues which if left unaddressed could compromise their ability to live safely
and well independently. They would make brief contact to check up on vulnerable people who live nearby but would escalate the contact during known difficult times e.g. cold weather or when alerted to a specific problem. Often,just knowing someone is there to help makes a huge difference to people’s lives helping them to feel less isolated or vulnerable.
Since its launch Good Friends has grown rapidly. There are now over 250 Good Friends in Darlington helping over 100 of their neighbours. The scheme allows people who have a desire to contribute to their community but may not have much time to help their neighbours. If you are interested in joining or just want to find out more visit the Good Friends website[external link].