- 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! firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
The next Forum
The next Forum is on 24 June 2021, 1-2.30pm and the theme is A Warm Welcome.
Ageing Better in Camden, a community partnership, will be telling us about their Lottery-funded project, A Warm Welcome, “People have told us that being welcomed (or not!) to a community activity has a big impact on whether or not they will return. Everyone had their own story of being welcomed, or feeling rejected. That’s why we decided to explore what a warm welcome looks like, and how it can help tackle social isolation and loneliness.”
Reports and resources from previous forums
- June 24 Befriending Forum report
- June 24 Befriending Forum slides
- March 25 Befriending Forum report
- March 25 Befriending Forum slides
- Dec 3 Befriending Forum slides
- Dec 3 Befriending Forum report
- Click here for the CTEL report The Psychology of Loneliness
- September 24 2020 Befriending Report
- Sept 24 Befriending Forum slides
- 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
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.
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.