I was delighted to take part in the judging panel for the Neighbour of the Year campaign along with Rebecca Birkbeck (Director of Community Engagement) and David Huse OBE (Chairman of Neighbourhood Watch).
We spoke to Co-op members to find out more about what being a good neighbour means to them. This allowed us to create a Good Neighbour guide and a judging criteria for the Neighbour of the Year competition, in partnership with Neighbourhood Watch. We received more than 400 entries into the competition.
What can we do to be a better neighbour?
Increasingly we all lead busier lives, and while often we think we are being good neighbours, how well do we really know our neighbours? For those who want to, taking a little extra time to build meaningful relationships with those around us, can help to strengthen our communities and make them safer places to live. The Good Neighbour guide is a practical way to achieve our ambition of a Stronger Co-op and Stronger Communities.
Our members believe that good neighbours:
- look out for each other, for example keeping an eye on the house
- are sociable and friendly – happy for a chat or a party invitation
- are practically helpful – from taking in parcels to offering help with the plumbing
- are kind, caring and respectful – more specifically thinking about the impact they have on neighbours
Our Neighbour of the Year – Paul Zeun
Our winner Paul Zeun, 53, was nominated for Neighbour of the Year by his neighbour Abby Wilson, 38. Paul and Abby are in the picture above.
He was nominated for consistently helping her and the neighbours in his flats in Sheffield for over 10 years. It was the consistency and the variety of support he provides to his neighbours that impressed me. Abby first met Paul when she locked herself out of her flat 10 years ago and he helped her to get back in. He has been helping Abby and the rest of the neighbours in the flats nearby ever since.
Paul has cared for terminally ill neighbours and looks after his other neighbours by doing the shopping for those who can’t. He also shares his DIY skills and looks after people’s pets, in addition to watering plants, inside and outside the flats, and he regularly puts out the bins and tidies away mess in communal areas.
Paul has created a real community spirit by organising communal themed BBQs and Christmas fancy-dress parties. As a result of the get-togethers the neighbours now celebrate birthdays with one another.
He has been instrumental in getting the community talking to each other and bringing everyone together. He plants flowers and makes the communal gardens look beautiful and from his allotment he shares out his vegetables, and the produce including jams and pickles with the neighbours every year.
Head of Home Insurance