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Good Neighbour scheme success as volunteer lends a hand

Ageing Better Middlesbrough’s Peer Friendship project has matched its first volunteer and beneficiary as part of the newly launched Good Neighbour scheme.

Dave Holton, a retired IT project manager from Acklam stepped in as a ‘Good Neighbour’ to help Mrs Stalker by tackling a series of odd jobs that required attention around the home including changing lightbulbs, bleeding radiators and adjusting two walking sticks to the correct height which Mrs Stalker had struggled with as a result of arthritic aches and pains in her hands. Dave had come across the volunteer opportunity on the Middlesbrough Council website and saw it as an opportunity to keep active and use his DIY skills to help others.

As well as offering a befriending service, the Peer Friendship service is now offering individuals short-term practical support. The Good Neighbour project matches up volunteers who can help people in their community with the skills they’ve got – volunteers will help people with one off jobs like; moving the lawn, changing light bulbs, taking someone to an appointment or collecting library books.

Mrs Stalker commented: “I saw a story in the paper about the Good Neighbour scheme and that it could help people with things like changing lightbulbs, and that’s exactly what I needed help with at the time. When you’re on your own and don’t know where to turn it can be really difficult getting things done and a lot of little jobs had stacked up. Through Peer Friendship you’re guaranteed reliable people who have been properly checked, it’s very reassuring. I will definitely use it again and I would encourage other people in the same position as me to use the service.”

Good Neighbour volunteer Dave, said: “I signed up as a Good Neighbour after spotting the volunteer advert as it was a good opportunity to use my skills to help people with tasks they were finding difficult. It was a pleasure to help Mrs Stalker and after the work had been carried out we had a cup of coffee and a chat. I’m due to go back and help with some other jobs in the near future. Everyday tasks we take for granted can be more difficult as we get older so I’m happy to be able to do my bit to help take away that stress.”

Andrew Bodinner from Ageing Better Middlesbrough Peer Friendship team said: “We are delighted that in such a short time since launching we are have already matched our first Good Neighbour and beneficiary.

“The Good Neighbour scheme enables individuals to remain independent whilst providing friendly social contact and making sure people are safe and well. It aims to tackle social isolation and loneliness through low level practical help. We would encourage anyone thinking about volunteering to get in touch.”

All Good Neighbour volunteers receive training, including safeguarding.

For more information on volunteering contact the Peer Friendship team on tel: 07595 453074 or email

Visit the volunteering page on the Ageing Better website to download the information pack:

If you or someone you know ever feels lonely you can call the team now on 01642 257030 or join as a member at