The Didcot Good Neighbour Scheme (DGNS) matches volunteers with elderly, lonely or isolated people in the Didcot area. I met Sandy, the volunteer co-ordinator, to find out more about the service and how local residents can help, or be helped.
Didcot Good Neighbour Scheme (DGNS)
DGNS was set up nine years ago, and is part of the Oxfordshire Good Neighbours Scheme. The Scheme is run entirely by volunteers and receives no regular income or funding.
In recent years the group has gone from strength to strength and now has 40 volunteers. However new volunteers are always required!
What do Didcot Good Neighbours do?
It varies! Some clients are fit and active and just want someone to chat to over a coffee. Others are in a wheelchair and require a physically able volunteer to take them to the shops. Volunteers might also help with gardening, pet walking, carrying out simple DIY tasks or assisting with household paperwork.
It’s important to mention that volunteers are not carers. They do not provide intimate care or housework.
Do you know someone who would benefit from this scheme?
Whilst clients may be referred by organisations such as Age UK or local agencies it is also possible to refer yourself or a family member.
If you’d like some company once a week, or are struggling with household tasks, please contact the volunteer co-ordinator to discuss how DGNS can help.
There is no cost for the service. However donations are gratefully accepted.
Would you like to volunteer?
The Didcot Good Neighbour Scheme would love to recruit more volunteers to carry out befriending visits. You need to be 18+ and willing to commit to two hours volunteering per week. The most important qualities are empathy and an ability to listen. You need to care about people!
Sandy would also like to recruit a volunteer who can join a team that helps with gardening tasks.
If you’re interested in either of the above please contact Sandy via email or telephone (details below). She will send you an application form to complete and return, and you’ll then meet to talk about the role and assess your suitability. If both parties are happy to proceed you’ll undergo a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check.
You’ll then be matched with a suitable client. The volunteer co-ordinator will introduce the client and volunteer to each other and the relationship builds from here. Whilst most work out very well Sandy is always available, by phone and email, to discuss any issues that arise with either party.
Volunteers are invited to team meetings every three months. This gives them the chance to meet others carrying out the same role and receive training or discuss issues that have arisen.
Apart from making a huge difference to people’s lives, fringe benefits include a fun Christmas party, attended by volunteers and clients, and hopefully this year, a garden party!
Further information is available on the Didcot Good Neighbour Scheme website. You can contact Sandy, the volunteer co-ordinator, by telephone on 07592 326777 or email email@example.com.