A NEW group set up by a local charity aims to encourage people to look after their neighbours in a bid to tackle social isolation.

Connecting Good Neighbours, launched by DIAL, is a new initiative that connects neighbours in Honeywell with each other by performing good deeds for their next door neighbours.

Residents are encouraged to come along to the first session to learn how to become a ‘Street Star’, whose responsibility is to be a reliable friend and neighbour to someone they live with by helping them with daily tasks.

Those who volunteer for the group may be encouraged to do their neighbour’s shopping, wait to collect a parcel or even take out their bins.

The weekly sessions will aim to support members in engaging those who may be socially isolated and how best to include them in their neighbourhood.

Chloe Bannister, the social inclusion co-ordinator for DIAL, said: “The Connecting Good Neighbours group is for residents of Honeywell that are wanting to connect everyone with each other.

“People already do these types of things for their neighbours already, like collecting a parcel or helping with their shopping, but this group will fill in those gaps and make sure everyone is included.

“It’s similar to a Neighbourhood Watch group but people also fetch things from the shops as well.

“We’re looking for local residents to sign up and become a Street Star, because no one knows your neighbourhood as well as you do.”

This new group is an extension of DIAL’s Warm Connection programme, with the main aims of tackling social isolation around the North area of Barnsley.

With social isolation often difficult to reach, the group hopes to identify loneliness in people who may go unnoticed.

“This entire scheme is an effort to recognise different people that potentially need help and trying to reach them.

“If you think you can’t help out, consider that everything has value. From holding a neighbour’s key for them to waiting for a parcel, these are all positive steps that can go a long way.”

The first session of Connecting Good Neighbours takes place at Honeywell Community Centre on January 29 at 1pm-3pm.