Help on Your Doorstep – Good Neighbours Schemes

When Islington Giving first granted us the funding to run our Good Neighbours Scheme in 2011, I was thrilled. The team and I could see the huge potential to make people’s lives richer by creating self-esteem and reaching out to the most isolated people on the[se] … Estate[s]”.

Ken Kanu, HOYD Director

Help on Your Doorstep’s (HOYD) Good Neighbours Schemes (GNS) are an exemplar of what can be achieved through partnership and collaboration. Four GNS have been introduced in Islington since the launch of the first scheme in 2012.

Good Neighbours Schemes now operate on:

They work with residents to find and own solutions to local issues such as isolation, improving health and wellbeing, and activities for children and young people. A key element here is about increasing the sense of neighbourliness. (Find out more about the schemes here).

We spoke to the team on the Priory Green Estate, where just nine months after its launch, 329 local residents were already involved in activities, with 19 local people volunteering. Considerable support is in place to enable volunteering, because this provides an opportunity for local people to contribute to their community, build confidence and gain valuable skills and work experience. (Hear a GNS volunteer’s story here).

Val Henney, the co-ordinator, has developed relationships with other local organisations to build partnerships that enable them to better support the residents together. These range from the Islington Bangladeshi Association, who work with the large Bangladeshi community living in Priory Green, to Sadlers Wells Theatre, which has added GNS to their Love to Dance scheme.

Val has been consulting within the community to understand aspirations, needs and gaps, to focus and shape the GNS. Key areas include helping people experiencing ill mental health and isolation, providing physical activities for young people, and offering appropriate, specialist support for BME communities and people living with disabilities.

The activities provided have brought the community together, including a weekly coffee session, and special events such as a trip to Southend and a street party to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, with over 250 people attending the street party and a regular attendance at the coffee morning. On the trip to Southend, one attendee commented that the day had made her feel happy and relaxed in a way that she had not felt in a long time. Many people have come together for the first time, despite being neighbours for years.

To find out how you can help us to support more residents visit http://www.islingtongiving.org.uk/website_/support-us or contact us via mail@islingtongiving.org.uk or 0207 288 6941.

Image: HOYD GNS – Priory Green Estate celebrates the Queen’s 90th birthday