Late last year a buying agent at Stacks Property Search and Acquisition set up a village Good Neighbour Scheme with her mother - and now it’s come into its own.
The aim of the scheme in the village of Byfield, Northamptonshire, is to encourage neighbours to help neighbours with small tasks, lifts to appointments and general befriending.
Now one of the people behind it - Stacks’ Rachel Johnston - says it’s proving invaluable.
“In the last month we’ve been able to step up to help the village, both those isolating and those distancing, developing a ‘Volunteer Protocol’ – a system where we can continue to help our neighbours with increasing the risk of infection for them or for us” Rachel tells Estate Agent Today.
“We’ve a co-ordinated ‘+1 Shopping Group’ on Whatsapp with 43 ‘hunter/gatherers’ – orders come in centrally, the group is informed, and if they are out doing their own family’s shopping, they get ‘1 for them, and 1 for the Scheme’.
“We deliver our shopping orders around the village each afternoon and additionally will be delivering the phone orders from the Co-op.
“We have been collecting prescriptions for villagers for months, but now we do a daily round from the Surgery to reduce footfall at the surgery building. Some villagers still need to go to the Surgery for appointments, so we have a dedicated car that we can clean in between trips, to ensure that their risk is minimised.”
Now the group is setting up a website to share villagers’ ideas for ‘remote, together’ activities such as Skype Family Fortunes competitions, and a wonderful-sounding ‘Share our Shed’ initiative - "If you have a blocked drain suddenly in the coming weeks, we can put out a request, everyone can check their shed for drain unblocker, and a night-time ‘end of drive’ pickup will be arranged for you” explains Rachel.
“It’s now a full time, seven day a week job, and the whole community is stepping up. We’ve been amazed at the upwelling of support and the villagers have been comforted to know that there is someone out there to turn to, as are their families stuck at a distance” she adds.
*Today is April 1, traditionally April Fools Day - cracking a joke in the current circumstances doesn’t seem quite right, but we’re using the opportunity to highlight the great work being done by agencies in the wider community to help us all get through the Coronavirus crisis.