Chorlton Good Neighbours (CGN) is a neighbourhood care group covering the Chorlton, Chorlton Park and Whalley Range areas of South Manchester. It was established in 1967 by local people and has evolved to become a well-established charity offering a range of services to local older people. It currently has over 250 users and 70 volunteers.This report analyses a survey of 76 of its users carried out by CGN care group in the Autumn of 2011.
The full results of this survey can be viewed and downloaded from http://goo.gl/cGWfX
The study conclude that as well as being centrally important to many people who use its services, Chorlton Good Neighbours also contributes considerably to their long term mental and physical wellbeing. The findings illustrate that CGN:
· Assists users in maintaining their independence;
· Helps to reduce their social exclusion, depression and isolation;
· Improves users physical and mental health ;
· Provides access to useful, practical & regular information, advice and support;
· Helps users to feel safe and secure in their community
· Reduces the adverse impact of long-term conditions through health related activities and empower people to manage their own health
· Provides opportunities for users to participate and make a positive contribution to the community and retain their independence
Percentage of Manchester residents who agree that their local area is
“a place where people from different backgrounds get on well together”
Source: Manchester City Council 2006/07 Best Value Survey
Whilst it would be unrealistic to attribute feelings of cohesion and neighbourliness in Chorlton and Whalley Range just to the impact of CGN or even the role of older people generally (economic factors must play a significant role), it is interesting that Chorlton, Chorlton Park and Whalley Range came top of all the wards in Manchester in “getting on well together”. They are also at the top or close to the top in surveys of volunteering and attachment to the local area
Regardless of the statistics, we know that the service offered by CGN to both its users and its volunteers is highly valued. We realise that we cannot stand still and have to continually change to meet new social and economic conditions as well as changing needs of older people. One of the main benefits of the survey was to find out what has worked well and what less so, what new areas of activity should be explored and innovations implemented. The older men’s project is an example of this forward thinking.
However, it is also important o note the continuity of services offered by the care group. Core activities such as home visits, wheelchair support, coffee morning, Sunday teas and day tripsremain at the heart of what we deliver as they provide a haven of friendship and support – neighbourliness – which enrich the lives of all those involved with Chorlton Good Neighbours.