An innovative new scheme delivering food and other essentials such as medicine and warm clothing to local people has been running in Hayling Island, since October and In Hartley Wintney from November. Called, GOTO and set up though the Good Neighbours Network (GNN), and working closely with the local good neighbours groups, trained Pioneers and volunteers are using electric bikes to carry the goods and sometimes people around helping them stay in touch with friends and neighbours and receive free deliveries from local shops.
The team have joined up with local businesses and will be delivering the all-important turkeys to locals during this festive season, and have been helping out with donated hamper deliveries too.
Funded by the Department of Transport under a Government scheme to tackle loneliness, the initiative is part of a coalition of organisations across Hampshire. Although primarily designed as a local low carbon delivery service, the focus on loneliness is very much at the centre of organisers minds. ‘Loneliness is something people very rarely own up to,’ says GOTO Pioneer Louis Coward, ‘but by making this about delivering essential items it also gives us a chance to keep a friendly eye on people – just to make sure they are ok and have someone to talk to.’
All the volunteers are encouraged to take time to have a chat with people using the service, even do the odd small job if that’s what’s needed. Organisers say these brief conversations can be very informative and the Pioneers are taught to signpost to other services as required.
Both Hayling Voluntary Services and Hartley Wintney Voluntary Care Group have been instrumental in supporting this project and guiding us on the ground, we are very grateful to them and look forward to continuing into 2023.