Ready Friends

Ready Friends

Ready Friends

  • 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! 
Ready Friends News

Sign up here for regular Ready Friends News and read the most recent issues below:

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
  • March 2121 – date TBA
Reports and resources from previous forums
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:

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!) –

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

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.

If you want to start up a telephone befriending service from scratch

Resources for your group or organisation
Resources for your volunteers
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.

Other resources




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