Volunteers launch IP3 Good Neighbour scheme in Ipswich
- Credit: PAUL DALEY
A group of volunteers in south east Ipswich are helping out their community and filling the gap left by Age UK Suffolk.
The IP3 Good Neighbour scheme grew out of a group set up to support the IP3 area of the town during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
So far they have amassed a volunteer force of nearly 20 and helped around 40 people – many in an ongoing way.
Due to social distancing rules the group is currently restricted to helping people with their shopping and collecting prescriptions.
But Paul Daley, the group’s chairman, said they had big plans for the future.
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He said: “So far it’s primarily been for elderly people or people who have been shielding.
“But going forward there will be much more of a spread of stuff that we’ll be doing.
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“We’ll still be doing prescriptions and shopping but we’ll doing odd jobs and work parties.
“When the regulations permit we’ll try and hold some get-togethers so people can come along and just have a coffee and a cake – just so that people who are isolated can meet other people.”
On their website they are developing a directory of local businesses, to help fund the scheme and provide advertising for the businesses.
Mr Daley said: “We’re trying to make our website a really good resource for the community, not just practically but information-wise as well.
“We’re getting a nice volunteer base and we’ll do anything that we think is going to be helpful for the community.”
The group is already stepping in to fill some of the void left by the recent collapse of Age UK Suffolk.
“There were a lot of people who had weekly phone calls from somebody via Age UK. They suddenly haven’t got anybody,” said Mr Daley.
“Lots of people are happy to speak to someone on the phone for half an hour or so every week.
“We’ve already made some contacts there and we’re picking one or two of those up.”
Anyone interested in volunteering for the scheme or who may need from the scheme should visit the website to find out more or call 0333 772 9343.