We should all be able to find time for kindness

Inspiration: Madeleine Shaw

LESLEY KEATING: Sugar-free for a year and I’m glowing

Like most good ideas, it is both simple and irresistible.

So we hope that Portsmouth inaugural Goodwill Day goes splendidly tomorrow and is just the first of a lasting annual celebration of neighbourliness.

As we report today, the day – to be held on December 18 every year – aims to kindle community spirit by encouraging people to look out for their neighbours.

Tory councillor James Williams, who came up with the idea, is absolutely right when he declares: 'It doesn't cost a penny to be nice to someone.'

That act of kindliness can, of course take many different forms, whether it is a visit to a neighbour who might appreciate company or an offer of help to a voluntary organisation.

There are of course many people who live their lives in this way and by no means would the organisers of Goodwill Day expect that anyone should assume they are only encouraging friendliness on one particular day of the year.

Good manners and the wish to watch out for others are attributes that add to our lives on every day from January 1 to December 31.

Examples can be found everywhere. Today, for instance, we report how Sue Bryant takes the time to visit her 93-year-old neighbour Kathy Jones each week.

She is a member of the Salvation Army's Good Neighbours scheme, which is just one of many organisations dedicated to helping others. And of course our own We Can Do It! campaign encourages and celebrates individual and collective acts of kindness.

These are not people who look for reward or recognition but are good neighbours because they recognise the value of helping others and enjoy doing so.

Each and every one of us can make a difference in our way and the value of days like tomorrow are that they help focus us on the need to make a little effort.

It's all too easy in our busy lives to imagine that, much as we would like to be more helpful, there just isn't always the time.

Actually, there almost certainly is. So we join with Portsmouth City Council in hoping that everyone will show a little goodwill tomorrow – and not just for December 17.