Community spirit is alive and well in Southwater where volunteers have received funding to kick-start a ‘Neighbour Network’ project.
It aims to offer shopping, transport to local clubs, social visits, and non routine household tasks to isolated residents in the village.
The project received a start-up grant from Southwater Parish Council for £1,345 and hopes to get up and running in mid autumn with around 25 volunteers already on board.
Chairperson Jackie Pattison, who lives in Andrews Road, said: “The idea is it will strengthen the community spirit and community bond and make it stronger.”
She credited Horsham Area Council for Voluntary Service as being ‘instrumental’ in encouraging her to turn her idea into a reality, and thanked the parish council for its generous grant.
As a carer who works in Horsham and sometimes Southwater she explained: “There are a massive group of people who are isolated and sitting on their own.”
However she stressed it would not replace care packages, but would offer ‘the sort of things you would ask neighbours to do’.
While the majority of users might be elderly residents, isolated mums might also be helped by the service, and she hoped it could signpost groups and activities to these people.
As a resident of Southwater on and off for the last 25 years, she explained that while most of the village was quite tight-knit there were ‘pockets’ of isolated people needing help.
Already many residents have come forward to express interest in using the service, including one woman in a wheelchair who attended an initial meeting and ended up becoming involved in the project.
Jackie added: “People can be volunteering their time but also using the service and needing help as well.”
To get involved call Jackie on 07917 816604 or Anne Kent 07860 526552.