- This project is all about supporting local people, communities and voluntary sector groups to reduce loneliness and social isolation in Reading. A number of Ready Friends activities (like the Befriending Forums) are held regularly but we also undertake time-limited projects in response to the changing needs of the people who live in the town.
- Ready Friends supports lots of existing local community groups and charities and works in partnership with public bodies like Reading Borough Council. However, we are always interested in talking to new people who would like to take action on loneliness and have an idea they’d like to develop. Ready Friends can help with information, advice, training and support around developing your idea; funding; finding a venue; recruiting volunteers; publicising your event or project and identifying potential partner organisations.
- Got an idea? Get in touch! email@example.com
Ready Friends News
Sign up here for regular Ready Friends News and read the most recent issues below:
- Ready Friends News 22 October 2020
- Ready Friends News 8 October 2020
- Ready Friends News 29 September 2020
- Ready Friends News 3 September 2020
- Ready Friends News 18 August 2020
Ready Friends Befriending Forum
- Ready Friends Befriending Forums meet quarterly (currently on Zoom 1-2.30pm) and bring together local people who want to take action on loneliness and social isolation. They could be from an existing charity or voluntary organisation or an emerging community group or someone who’d like to make a difference in their neighbourhood.
- Each Forum event is themed and we welcome suggestions for items to include. We always start with introductions and good news from groups around Reading, so it’s a great way to network, share your work and find partners for new projects.
Dates for future Forums
- 3 December
Reports and resources from previous forums
- September 24 2020 Befriending Report
- Have a look through the presentation slides from the event, which have useful links and information about translation and interpreting services from Reading Community Learning Centre and on the RVA Printed on Paper survey.
- Report from the June 2020 Befriending Forum – Mental health support for people facing loneliness and social isolation
- Report from Dec 2019 Befriending Forum – The Role of Technology in Reducing Loneliness
- September 2019 – Measuring outcomes and impact
- May 2019 – Launch of Toolkit
- February 2019
Friendship Volunteering Project
A small group of local community organisations are working together to give thanks and to celebrate the vital contribution of local volunteers who take action on loneliness and social isolation. As part of National Befriending Week (1-7 November) the group is hosting a Zoom social and celebration party for our wonderful ‘friendship volunteers’. Email Rhiannon at Ready Friends if you would like an e-invitation to send to your group’s volunteers: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are also offering Reading community groups up to 20 Thank You cards each to send to your volunteers during National Befriending Week. Please email Rhiannon if you would like to be sent a batch of up to 20 cards and envelopes (yes – real ones, not e-cards!) – email@example.com
In 2019, we held a party in the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Click here for an evaluation report on the evening.
Coronavirus community action for befriending organisations
- Please check out the resources and links on RVA’s Coronavirus Community Action page
- RVA has prepared Staying Safe whilst Volunteering: A Guide for Voluntary and Community Groups to assist established groups to deliver services safely during this time, with suggested best practice.
- Mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak – round-up of support and information, including national helplines
- NEW – free fast-track training package for telephone befriending volunteers
For existing befriending schemes
If you are now making a plan to provide another form of support (telephone or digital befriending):
- Consider what are the risks, how can these be minimised at this time. What additional guidance do your befriendees and befrienders need?
- Make a contingency plan among your staff team that includes actions to take now and as the situation/guidance changes.
- Communicate guidance/protocol that has been agreed upon within your organisation to volunteer befrienders.
- Communicate guidance and any changes that have been agreed upon to your befriendees.
- Post your organisation’s guidance on your website or social media.
- At a glance guidance for staff managing befriending schemes
- Transitioning to distance befriending – for volunteers
- Transitioning to distance befriending – for staff managing befriending schemes
If you want to start up a telephone befriending service from scratch
Resources for your group or organisation
- Start Up and Run a Group RVA’s guide on setting up a new group
- Volunteer Now Good practice guidelines to setting up befriending service
- A comprehensive guide to befriending practice in the UK Befriending Networks Good practice in Befriending
- Short video on supporting volunteers Supporting volunteers
Resources for your volunteers
- Top Ten Tips for new befrienders Basic guidance for people who have not been a befriender before.
- A more in-depth training guide Being a Befriender : a good practice guide
- The NHS / Royal Voluntary Service Check In And Chat guidance includes some useful tips Getting started as a Check in and Chat volunteer
- Looking after yourself Protecting Your Wellbeing
- Short video of basic safeguarding guidance Safeguarding tips
- Short video of staying safe whilst volunteering Staying safe
- Short video of good practice tips for safeguarding for telephone befrienders Telephone befriending
Ready Friends Toolkit
Ready Friends, in partnership with Reading Neighbourhoods Network, have a toolkit for anyone interested in taking action on loneliness and social isolation. Access the online toolkit where you can also download an 8-page booklet to share.
- Making Reading Friendlier: a Ready Friends Action Plan 2019-2020
- Social Isolation and Loneliness in Reading report (2017)
- Look at the range of befriending schemes in Reading.
- See current befriending opportunities.