- 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 is on 23 September 2021, 1-2.30pm. Please click on this link to book.
Let’s Make Reading (town centre) Friendlier!
RVA is working with a number of local partners to hear what local people and groups think about the town centre and what could be done to make it more sustainable, inclusive and liveable.
At September’s Befriending Forum, we’re going to focus on how to improve social connectedness in our town centre and what we need to put in place to reduce loneliness and make people feel more welcome there.
Tina Spires from Urban Place Lab will join us to look at what works well to connect people in town and city centres, what we think is needed and what we can each do to make our town centre friendlier.
Plus all the usual networking opportunities, funding and service updates.
Reports and resources from previous forums
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
For existing 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
- Starting a Befriending Service: an introductory guide
- 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
- Look at the range of befriending schemes in Reading.
- See current befriending opportunities.