GNS Annual General Meeting
The GNS AGM 2019-20 was held on Tuesday October 20th at 7.30 at Rodmell Grange. The Chair, Judith Bradbury, presented the following report.
Chairman’s Review of the Year
Rodmell Good Neighbour Scheme 2019-2020
The fourth year of the Rodmell Good Neighbour Scheme has undoubtedly been an extraordinary
one. On 23rd March the Government imposed a national lockdown in an effort to combat the effect
of the Coronavirus pandemic, with vulnerable individuals having to rigorously shield. This state of
affairs continued until early June, when some restrictions were lifted. At the time of this meeting
clear evidence that infection rates are rising again has meant the introduction of a three tier system
of restrictions. At present Rodmell is fortunate to be in the lowest tier classified as medium risk. We
go into the winter however with high levels of uncertainty and may well have to endure another
period of full lockdown.
Having formally established RGNS in 2016 we were well placed to step in and provide the
necessary volunteer support and in collaboration with Rodmell Parish Council circulated a
‘Coronavirus Newsletter’ to all households in Rodmell, Southease and Northease to reassure
everyone that we were available to help. We had 26 volunteers on our database but almost 50% of
these had, for a variety of reasons, to take shielding precautions. We were fortunate therefore to
have our numbers bolstered by 15 new volunteers who quickly came on board as a response to the
emergency and have proved invaluable.
Throughout the year we have successfully responded to 95 requests for help. Where we were aware
of a vulnerable household a volunteer was allocated to regularly check in and give added
reassurance and no doubt they routinely helped out with additional small tasks which have gone
unrecorded. For many who found themselves in need of our services it was, of course, the first time
they had tried us out.
I am indebted to all the volunteers who have so cheerfully pitched in to help – it really has been a
team effort. AIRS have continued to support us via telephone contact and Zoom conference get
togethers. As our fund raising capability is currently challenged our coffers received most welcome
boosts from both Rodmell & Southease WI and the Sussex Police via their Stolen Property Fund.
Whilst not in any way a part of the Good Neighbour Scheme I would like to also mention what a
lifeline our pub The Abergavenny Arms has been throughout this difficult year. Their takeaway
service was a invaluable to all our residents, but particularly those who inevitably found themselves
very isolated during lockdown.
It is with great sadness that I have to report the recent sudden death of one of our long standing
volunteers, Marcus Brown whose funeral was today. Marcus had supported us by completing a
variety of tasks with his usual aplomb and in his role of Associate Vicar in Rodmell also personally
provided strong pastoral support to the community and further afield in the local hospice. He will be
greatly missed and our thoughts are with his wife Jenny and family.
Finally I must warmly thank all members of the committee who have provided much appreciated
advice, help and camaraderie during what has proved to be an extraordinary year. Thank you.
Chair, Rodmell Good Neighbour Scheme
We would like to remind everyone that the RGNS has a friendly volunteer to answer the phone every day, on 07871 102 076, and a large team of ready volunteers able to help in lots of ways – and this scheme is available for everyone of all ages in our community.
About the Rodmell Good Neighbour Scheme
The scheme is a voluntary group set up twp years ago and run by local residents who recognise the value in having ‘good neighbours’, particularly where public transport and other local services are limited and where people’s families may not live close by. Our scheme is supported by Action in Rural Sussex, and we have received some set-up funding from them and other bodies – notably the Rodmell Horticultural Society; now that it’s established we expect the scheme to be self financing through donations from users.
Many of us already undertake helpful tasks for our neighbours and the scheme would not wish to get in the way of this. Sometimes, however, it may be a while before we are aware that someone is unwell, for example, and given our ever-diminishing public transport system people can find themselves feeling quite isolated.
We’ve now got a good number of volunteers, who have all been DBS (criminal records) checked, and for everyone’s extra peace of mind they are fully insured. They have all decided what sort of help they are able to offer, how much and when. They don’t do things that are best left to professionals, but the sort of things that they can do for you are:
- Occasional lifts to doctors, lunch clubs, shops, etc.
- Collecting prescriptions, pensions, etc., and doing some shopping for you
- Help with looking after pets, e.g. walking your dog
- Small household repairs and practical tasks such as changing a light bulb
- Form filling, letter writing or help with using a computer
- Befriending – popping round for a chat over a cup of tea
You don’t need to register as a user, and you might only ever use the service once, or maybe every week. If ever you find you need a bit of extra help all you have to do is ring the group’s phone number
07871 102 076
Your call will be answered by a volunteer phone-handler, who will match your request for assistance with a suitable and available volunteer.
Rodmell Good Neighbour Scheme Committee:
Chair Judith Bradbury
Vice Chair and Treasurer Clare Gillies
Secretary Catriona Grant
Membership Secretary Carolyn Orchard
Publicity Caroline Archer
Sandra Webb and Debbie Cox
Read the RGNS 2017-18 report here