One Ilfracombe is pleased to announce a new scheme, designed to run on similar principles to Neighbourhood Watch which has been launched this week, in Ilfracombe.
Its primary aim is to enable people to support one another to improve the health and wellbeing of their community, with the support of local GPs. The idea came from a Devon-based GP, Dr Jane Aitken. She recognised the potential to take the traditional Neighbourhood Watch approach – which enables residents to assist the police by working in partnership to help reduce crime – and use it to help improve the overall health and wellbeing of communities, using resources that already exist within them. Members of the community are being asked to work together as good neighbour volunteers, to provide a localized network of support to help their most vulnerable and isolated neighbours. Jayne Clarke, Neighbourhood Health Watch Project Coordinator, said: “Neighbourhood Health Watch assists communities who want to work together to help tackle loneliness and isolation and increase community resilience to improve health and wellbeing. Neighbourhood Health Watch aims to bring together good neighbour volunteers who are willing to be called upon when there is a need – thereby creating a new way for people to offer support to those in their community, providing practical help that genuinely comes from the heart.” Jan Kennedy, Community Engagement Co-ordinator for One Ilfracombe, added: “It’s simple things that make life easier for everyone. Popping in to see someone who has no visitors could bring a big smile to a person’s face, or maybe taking them to the shops if they have no transport. If a neighbor has to go in hospital could you water their plants or feed the cat? Easy things that make a big difference.” The Neighbourhood Health Watch project was launched by Devon Partnership NHS Trust in 2011. This followed an appeal from Norman Lamb, Minister for Health and Social Care, who said: “We all understand Neighbourhood Watch – the grassroots movement to guard against crime. I think we need a movement like a Neighbourhood Watch for Care, to guard against isolation amongst older and disabled people. If we can organise ourselves to look out for our neighbours against the threat of house burglaries then we can do it for loneliness and isolation.”
For more information or advice on setting up a Watch in your community please contact Jayne Clarke by calling 01392 824752 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The scheme is is a co-creation between Devon County Council, Westbank Community Health & Care and Devon Partnership NHS Trust, working in partnership with Devon & Cornwall Police and Devon & Somerset Fire and Rescue and supported by One Ilfracombe. Further information is available at: www.neighbourhoodhealthwatch.org.uk