Chair, Dioceses of Winchester and Portsmouth
GNN Team Leader
The Revd Dr Peter Harwood
Diocese of Guildford
HCC Adults’ Health & Care
HELLO FROM KAREN JORDAN
Throughout this maelstrom of a year Good Neighbours groups and the 4000 + Good Neighbours volunteers remained steadfast, strong and effective in their communities.
The 2022 annual statistics survey shows that Good Neighbours groups offered over 131,000 acts of kindness in their local communities. THANK YOU!
Feedback from the people helped by GN groups illustrate what a massive difference GN volunteers make in their lives.
What a remarkable force for good GN volunteers are in this world.
Last year we continued to offer advice and guidance on governance issues including DBS and insurance queries, challenging situations with volunteers and clients, group mergers and safeguarding.
We responded to group concerns around the rising cost of fuel by setting up a mileage petition demanding that HMRC raise the recommended mileage rate from 45p a mile to 60p a mile. This petition gathered 42,589 signatures. Unfortunately, the government did not pick this up for debate. However, the campaign has now been taken up by the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action. So watch this space.
We also asked Good Neighbours groups to raise their voices and support a campaign against ending the HCC Adult and Social Care funding stream that funded GNN. Despite an impressive and very much appreciated response from Good Neighbours groups the decision to make the cuts was upheld. Nonetheless, this concerted response from GNN groups certainly made Hampshire County Council aware of the unique place that the Network holds in underpinning an amazing volunteering force.
Despite this setback 2023 will see GNN continuing to robustly support GN groups with the strong backing of the Council for Social Responsibility and local NHS Integrated Care Service.
On a personal note, I would like to say that it is a pleasure and an honour to be in regular contact with so many GN group leaders and to hear about their challenges, frustrations, concerns and triumphs.
It is an absolute joy to be part of such an expansive, warm team of kind, caring and determined people.
❤️ Good Neighbours.
By any measure 2022 will go down as ‘one-of-those-years’ in almost everyone’s book. On the international stage we began with a war which few saw coming and then seemed to lurch from one domestic crisis to another with implications for all of us. Whether that’s higher food costs, bigger gas and electric bills or an NHS service that’s struggling to deliver care in the way it should – these are certainly tough times.
The UK went through three PM’s, celebrated a Platinum Jubilee and then saw a beloved monarch pass away and witnessed a record breaking sizzling summer to a winter of discontent.
Her Majesty the Queen sadly passed away in September, the UK entered a period of mourning and the nations respect is depicted by a queue of citizens waiting to pay their respects that would have stretched three times around the circumference of the Earth.
The ‘phew what a scorcher’ summer became a cold winter of discontent
King Charles III delivered his first Christmas Day speech to the nation, where he referenced the cost of living crisis.
Feb ’22 saw Vladimir Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine
Eurovision became a platform to showcase the worlds support for Ukraine, as the Kalush Orchestra won the contest in May.
The world’s richest man in the world Elon Musk, toys with Twitter and eventually bought it for a $44 billion. Slightly more than the UK spends on defence each year. Let that sink in.
Argentina won the World Cup in Qatar after a final that would grip most of the planet
With all this in mind, there has probably never been a more pressing need for the Good Neighbours Network and all the brilliant work the groups do across the county. With the wider world so unstable people of all ages and all walks of life need the reassurance that comes with friends and neighbours offering kindness and just being around.
Regrettably, the tight financial climate means we have had to face some tough choices too about the way GNN is funded. Sadly Hampshire County Council’s inability to support us beyond March 2023 means we continue to look elsewhere to get the support our small central team need to operate and the baseline funding we need to underpin the Network. We understand this was a difficult decision and remain grateful for all their support over the years and appreciate the ongoing support they can continue to offer with guidance and communications.
We are grateful to the Council for Social Responsiblity (CSR) for their commitment of support for the Network until April 2024. Our thanks also go to the newly formed NHS Integrated care Board (ICB) who continue to fund us and this funding is critical at this time.
As we enter this period of transition things may be challenging, but we will still be able to operate and support all GNN groups as usual and cover insurance and DBS checks.
We are currently working on funding applications to charitable trusts and foundations to secure the future of the GNN and we are confident that a Volunteer Network this vibrant and worthwhile with the simple act of giving at its core will continue to thrive and survive.
This neatly brings us to those all-important stats we ask you for each year.
The data we collect enables us to provide a strong case to any potential funder while enabling us to take the ‘temperature of the network’ and both highlight and thank you all for the invaluable usefulness and joy you bring to peoples lives day by day.
|2020||2021 (Hants.)||2022 (Hants.)||2022 (Network)|
|7. Lunch Clubs||22288||5483||20968||22412|
|8. Coffee Mornings||7481||925||7686||8238|
|9. Mini Bus||12376||130||4123||4340|
|10. Social Clubs||10125||1822||8791||8791|
|11. Social Activities||6660||510||2701||2811|
|13. Daily Calls||1749||1208||0||0|
|14. Online Tasks||0||1535||469||469|
|15. New Activities||0||7590||966||966|
|17. Covid Vaccination Trips||0||2364||0||0|
As ever the data gives us a clear indicator as to where the network has been most effective.
In 2022 we have seen a 25% increase in the number of health appointments, as the pressure of the Covid pandemic reduced, the need for health related journeys took a sharp increase toward pre-pandemic levels. These health related tasks and journeys represent over 40% of GNN activity.
The value of a GNN health journey eloquently highlighted here by NEW MILTON GNN group
“Given that it costs £110 to Southampton Hospital by taxi, £60 to Bournemouth and there are no real transport alternatives, we provide the safest and most cost effective method to our local residents to reach their appointments on time. Since Covid, we have come across so many people who are not leaving their house other than for a medical appointment, our drivers have become that regular, friendly person they see and often offer an informal mobile befriending service with an occasional stop off for some shopping”
BISHOPS WALTHAM GNN group explain a typical medical journey
“If required all our drivers accompany patients to their appointments, especially in hospital. For providing this service they are classified as ‘carers’ by the Blue Badge organisation and qualify for Blue Badge parking permits. However, the benefits are far greater than a parking permit. Our clients present at their appointments in a relaxed manner as they know they are accompanied door to door. We are not just a means of transportation, we ‘walk beside the patient’ and offer our caring support through conversation and perhaps more importantly listening, for many clients haven’t spoken to another human being for a week or more.”
WINCHESTER GNN group
The personal service, collection, waiting and returning the client safely home is really appreciated and reduces anxiety so much compared to a regular taxi service.
This is in part for two reasons, one is a significant number of people have been in isolation and are embracing the opportunities opening up to connect with people and spend time in social environments again and secondly, many good neighbours are recognising the value and worthwhile feel good factor that is felt by participants and volunteers alike.
WELLOW GNN group
‘One lady wrote in her Christmas card, that the lunch club had saved her life’
‘The Woolston Friendship Club, is an intergenerational group, where in partnership with St Patricks RC Primary School and St Patricks Church, groups of children and older group members engage in joint social activities.’
HAYLING VOLUNTARY SERVICE GNN group
‘The happiest event for us in 2022 was one organised by our Trustee and secretary Mrs Pat Horder, she arranged and took 18 people for a cream tea on Chichester Canal. Transport was provided by volunteers cars and the local business mans minibus, passengers included some very elderly and some with dementia – it was a very special and peaceful afternoon, the well-being factor was second to none.’
There are some people across all social economic groups struggling or choosing not to reengage with society at pre pandemic levels.
Who for a variety of reasons are experiencing loneliness at damaging degrees.
Befriending and light touch points are intrinsic to the Good Neighbours approach, and here at GNN we recognise that one of the fundamentals around loneliness is that people often don’t want to admit to experiencing loneliness. Yet in comes in all guises and can affect people of all ages from a new mother, to a young person living in a bedsit struggling with the cost of living crisis, to the recently divorced or widowed and often it can just occur through a simple illness that reduces mobility and knocks confidence.
GOSPORT BEFRIENDING group
My befriendee has got a free wheelchair from Buy & Sell and we are planning our first trip out together, which we are really looking forward to, she has also had a mobile hairdresser appointment that I helped arrange for her, one very happy coiffured lady.
While scoping for creative and productive ways to tackle loneliness, the central team joined Action Hampshire, University of Winchester, MHA and Age UK in a collective bid to the Department of Transport for ways to tackle loneliness with transport. We were successful in a joint bid and GNN were awarded £166,000 to set up a pilot volunteer E-bike scheme GO TO , delivering all important supplies, prescriptions and offer social journeys in our bespoke Tri-shaw.
The GNN element of the partnership project was uniquely developed from the original responses to the pandemic where Good Neighbours across the Network took to their bikes to deliver a smile, shopping, fish and chips and prescriptions to hundreds of people.
The GO TO project launched in November and is currently being piloted in Hartney Wintney and Hayling Island, with plans to expand into Emsworth early 2023. It is designed to offer a light touch connection point for people who may be unable or unwilling to leave their home but need supplies and would benefit from a friendly hello. Led by three trained Pioneers, and supported by Hayling Voluntary Service and Hartney Wintney Voluntary Care Group , the scheme is gaining traction and it is expected to be a very busy Summer.
Here is a short film that highlights how GO TO works,
THE JUBILEE GNN STYLE
VOLUNTEERS PREPARING CHRISTMAS LUNCH AT HARTNEY WINTNEY
BEACON HILL GNN GROUP
our lovely client, Pauline who was 100 last year is now 101!
Bee (Beryl) Kenchington, who started all things Good Neighbours, turns 100 in February 2023, her enthusiasm and tenacity in those early years has been instrumental in tens of thousands of people helping people.
In the month of May, we have a Coronation on the way and the Network will be actively involved in promoting events and raising awareness of The Big Help Out scheduled for May 8th. If your group has ideas and plans to celebrate on the 8th, please get in touch with us, so we can share them far and wide and create an on-going string of events, physical and digital.
We have adapted our campaign logo to promote and celebrate this Festival of Volunteering and to highlight the Superpower that is GNN – feel free to use this wherever you can.
CANON NICK RALPH CHAIR GNN, DIOCESE OF WINCHESTER AND PORTSMOUTH