Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Dr Dan Poulter, MP, Meets Kesgrave Good Neighbour Scheme Volunteers

Dr Dan presents a volunteer manual to KGNS's newest volunteer

It was a fantastic turnout to our April volunteers meeting and we were delighted to welcome Dr Dan Poulter, MP, as our special guest. We had a number of  other important guests too, from other local organisations,  and,  after the more formal part of the meeting, and refreshed by tea, coffee, and nibbles, we were able to discuss many great ideas for working together.

Many thanks to all who came and also to Kesgrave Market for letting us have a stand in the morning.

The full press release is below:

The Kesgrave Good Neighbour Scheme (KGNS) was delighted to welcome Dr Dan Poulter, MP, to its quarterly volunteers’ meeting, on Saturday April 20th at Kesgrave Community Centre. Before the meeting Dr Dan met a number of Suffolk’s local producers and crafters at the monthly Kesgrave Market, and weekly Country Market, held at Kesgrave Scout Hall. Kesgrave Town Council kindly made a stand available to KGNS at Kesgrave Market, and volunteers made the most of this opportunity to talk to Kesgrave residents about the scheme and enlist a few more volunteers!

At the volunteers meeting afterwards, Dr Dan emphasised how important such community schemes were, particularly in current austere times and with an ageing population. He offered his assistance if the scheme needed any help with such issues as funding, and liaising with hospitals and other organisations. Dr Dan also presented the scheme’s newest volunteer, Eileen Gray, with her volunteer manual and photo ID card.

Chairman Jane Cody said how helpful and morale boosting it was to know that, despite such a busy schedule as constituency MP and a Minister for Health, Dr Dan was able to make time for a small group such as KGNS, and was available to help if needed.

Jane also referred to the invaluable help from Nat Bocking, of Community Action Suffolk: “Nat’s experience and expertise, together with a tried and tested professional framework and user friendly paperwork, were invaluable in setting up the scheme. Nat has given very freely of his time and held our hand all the way along, despite, with his colleague, Robert Horn, having 29 other Good Neighbour Schemes to look after! I’m not sure, despite our enthusiasm, we would have got off the ground, let alone got so far so fast, if we’d had to start from scratch on our own”.

Also invited to the meeting was Ann Osborn, of the Rural Coffee Caravan Information Project (RCCIP), another organisation that has played a big part in the set up and success of KGNS. Jane reports: “RCCIP gave me my first taste of volunteering and I loved it. I came across the Good Neighbour Scheme when I was volunteering for them at a Golden Age Fayre. I talked to KGNS co-founder Sally Beales about it, and we both agreed it was the best way to progress an idea arising from an Ageing Well conference, held by Suffolk County Council, that had ignited a spark in us the previous year. Up until them we were toying with an idea with the working title of !

Other special guests included PCSOs Michael Sarbutts and Sally Thomas, from the Kesgrave Safer Neighbourhood Team, (who came up with a great idea for a collaboration, between the police cadets and KGNS), representatives from the local branches of the WI, the Co-operative Women’s Guild the British Legion, and Kesgrave News.

After a vote of thanks to Dr Dan, volunteers and special guests alike tucked into a buffet lunch prepared by volunteers and including plenty of Suffolk goodies purchased from the producers at Kesgrave Market


Kesgrave Good Neighbour Scheme (KGNS) launched in August 2012, with nearly 20 volunteers, following a series of public meetings, and surveys to assess community needs and resources. It’s backed by Community Action Suffolk (formerly Suffolk Acre) and is the first Good Neighbour Scheme in a semi urban environment. KGNS aims to provide a variety of help to neighbours, for example shopping, a listening ear, lifts for medical appointments, walking a dog, changing a light bulb, etc. Neighbours simply call the Scheme phone number and the phone holder will match the request to a volunteer. Volunteers initially fill in a form to say what type of help they might be able to give and when they might be available, and all volunteers are DBS/CRB checked and carry Photo ID cards.

Kesgrave residents who’d like some help can call the scheme on 07445 166 993, or find out more on

Community Action Suffolk (Suffolk Acre)

For more information on Good Neighbour Schemes in general, and contact details for Nat Bocking, visit

For further information, and contact details for Dr Dan Poulter, MP, go to

For more information on the Rural Coffee Caravan Information Project, visit

For more details on Kesgrave Market, go to and for anything to do with Kesgrave, including Kesgrave News, community groups and what’s on, visit

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