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We all need good neighbours

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Together with members, Lincolnshire Co-op is supporting social inclusion charities and local luncheon clubs through its Community Champions scheme. Every time you shop with your dividend card, a donation will be made. Colleague fundraising and the carrier bag levy also go into the pot, and the money raised will help these groups continue to brighten older people's lives. 

One of the social inclusion charities being supported is Community Lincs... 

The best help is often closest to home, as Community Lincs proves. It helps communities rally together to look after residents by setting up Good Neighbour Schemes, which are then run by volunteers.

People can ask for help, such as transport to an appointment or assistance with a tricky task, and volunteers spread out the requests between them.

It takes just a few hours a week to volunteer, but it changes lives.

Linkwell is a Good Neighbour Scheme serving Aslackby, Billingborough, Dowsby, Horbling, Pointon and Threekingham, near Sleaford. It helps people with everything from transport and household tasks to moral support at health appointments and time for friendship.

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Volunteer Chris Lambert (pictured above) helped found it in December 2016.

“At least three people hadn’t travelled out of Billingborough for a couple of years. They’d only managed to get up and down the street on a summers’ day,” he said.

“Providing a service like this allows people to enjoy living better in rural areas. They can stay in their areas and still enjoy life which, we would hope, all of us can when it’s our turn. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”

To date, Linkwell has an amazing 15 volunteers helping 30 clients across the six villages. Some very firm friendships have been formed along the way, too.

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Eileen Richardson, 88, (pictured above) was one of the first to benefit. She needed transport but has found plenty of friendship, lunches and laughter through the scheme.

“It has helped with my confidence. It’s nice to be independent,” she said.

Volunteer Jayne Keeley added: “If we’re going to a hospital appointment trip in Lincoln, and the client wants to stop somewhere on the way back, we’ll stop on the way back.

“It’s a Good Neighbour Scheme, you’re doing what you’d do for your neighbour.”

Community Development Worker for Community Lincs Steve Mason said schemes like Linkwell could help many more people – they just need volunteers.

 “One of the things we desperately try to do is not replace what’s already provided. We try to fill the gaps,” he said.

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