The Hilltop Villages Good Neighbours Group
One of the strengths of our community is the willingness of local people to offer a helping hand to others. In short you might call this a spirit of ‘neighbourliness’.
In the summer of 2011 a group of villagers got together to identify how they could build on this neighbourliness. Aside from this ambition, there are concerns that cut-backs in public services will over time impact disproportionately on those living within rural communities. It was considered prudent to respond to these threats, or to borrow the local authority turn of phrase, ‘Building Community Capacity’.
Covid-19 Epidemic – Support for Vulnerable Villagers
Throughout the Covid-19 epidemic, working in conjunction with the Hilltop Villages Churches, the Good Neighbours Group provided support to elderly and vulnerable villagers. Over 60 volunteers were recruited from the villages around and over the two-year period many hundreds of individual assignments were undertaken. This support included collecting and delivering prescriptions, undertaking shopping from local supermarkets and carrying out simple tasks like clearing gutters or fixing computers.
Exercise Sessions for Mature Folk
Held at Cholesbury Village Hall these popular exercise classes for men and women on Tuesday mornings are for anyone who would benefit from some gentle exercise, keep their body supple and chat with other villagers over a cup of tea or coffee. Further information via the number below.
The Extreme Weather 4×4 Car Scheme
In winters that bring heavy snowfalls and prolonged periods of freezing weather conditions at times on local roads can became impassable or dangerous to negotiate safely without a 4×4 car.
A group of volunteers have come together to operate a 4×4 Car Scheme during periods of such extreme weather. There is a dedicated telephone number which will be manned by volunteers within the Parish and drivers with 4×4 cars will be on-call to help fellow parishioners with vital transport needs, e.g. to get to urgent medical appointments, restocking essential food supplies, or collecting an urgent prescription. Possibly to assist stranded villagers at local stations or in the environs of the villages! If weather conditions prevent social services reaching a client, and near neighbours are not available, then volunteers may also be able to help with certain vital tasks. NB. It will be totally at the discretion of Group organisers to decide if the weather conditions dictate, and the need is urgent and appropriate for a volunteer to be called out.
The Extreme Weather 4×4 Car Scheme telephone number is:
Please note that the Car Scheme will be in operation from 9 am to 7 pm and only during periods of extreme weather. At other times you should contact the police or social services.
This service is free; however, a contribution towards the driver’s fuel costs is welcomed. Residents are encouraged to prepare for another harsh winter, both at home and for daily journeys!
We would like to express our thanks to our driver volunteers and to Green Telecom, based in Chesham, who generously supplied the telephone number, free of charge.
Other Projects the Good Neighbours Group has organised in the past
1. The Hilltop Villages Pub Lunch Club
The Pub Lunch Club, which ran until the Covid outbreak in 2020, offered a good value meal in friendly surroundings for those living locally. On offer was a two-course meal – main course and pudding – plus tea or coffee, all for just £14.
2. Cholesbury Village Hall Kitchen Upgrade
The Good Neighbours Group successfully bid for funds to upgrade the Cholesbury Village Hall kitchen facilities so it could be used by older villagers including those attending the exercise classes referred to above.
3. Village and Parish Hall Broadband
The Good Neighbours Group was able to secure funding to enable both Cholesbury Village Hall and St Leonards Parish Hall to install superfast broadband facilities.
4. IT Classes for Older Age Residents
The Good Neighbours Group has run several popular classes to enable older age residents become familiar with how broadband and internet services can be useful and to improve their skills in using computer tablets.
5. Hilltop Villages Good Neighbours Directory
A pull-out leaflet was distributed to all the households in Cholesbury-cum-St Leonards Parish in the December 2011 edition of Hilltop News. The leaflet included information about initiatives such as the Extreme Weather 4×4 Car Scheme and also listed a directory of useful telephone numbers.
If you would like to find out more about volunteering and participating in any of the Hilltop Villages Good Neighbours Group initiatives, or would like to contact the Group please contact Chris Brown by phone on 01494 758890, or email firstname.lastname@example.org