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Norfolk Community Transport Association

Good neighbours are busy in Coltishall and Horstead

16th February 2017

Good neighbours are busy in Coltishall and Horstead

A band of committed volunteers who help vulnerable residents in their community are looking for more volunteers to join.  Coltishall and Horstead Good Neighbour Scheme has, for the past four years, been responding to the needs of local people by helping with straightforward but essential tasks such as giving lifts to the doctor or hospital, shopping and social events. By far the biggest demand however is that of community transport, and there is always a need for more volunteer drivers and helpers.

Scheme Co-ordinator Julie Douglass explains: “As a Good Neighbour Scheme, we offer help with all kinds of everyday tasks that some people find physically difficult, such as shopping, gardening, befriending – or even just changing a light bulb. Most of us take those kinds of small jobs for granted but there are people in the community who, perhaps because of age or loss of mobility, find those tasks difficult or even impossible.”

“Since we started the scheme, we’ve found that the greatest need is for transport. Not everyone has a car, or access to a bus service, so we are there to take people to the local surgery or further afield perhaps to hospital appointments at Cromer or the Norfolk & Norwich. We have fifteen volunteer drivers on call, each of whom gives of their time and provide their own cars, for which we pay a mileage allowance.”

Neighbourliness helps unite communities, creating an environment where people feel safe and secure because they have a genuine connection with one another. In a mainly rural county like Norfolk, community transport is many people’s only means of getting to and from healthcare

appointments or just to the local shops, and so plays an important part in tackling social isolation and helping people live independently.  It’s especially important for older people and those with disability issues but can also be a lifeline for younger people and families who lack their own transport.                                                                                           

In 2015-16 the Coltishall and Horstead Good Neighbour Scheme received 490 requests for help and assistance, all of which were assessed and co-ordinated according to need and urgency. The scheme also covers the nearby Badersfield community, with drivers on hand in the immediate area. It also has connections with trusted local tradesmen, and established strong working links with Broad District Council’s Handyman scheme.

“Volunteer drivers are always welcome” explains Julie. “And we would encourage anyone who feels they might be able to contribute to the wellbeing of others in Coltishall and Horstead to get in touch.”

To find out more about how to help as a volunteer driver, call Coltishall and Horstead Good Neighbour Scheme on 01603 737637 or 07799 277455.  

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