We are working in partnership with local charities on a new project to promote friendship and reduce the impact of loneliness and isolation and we are looking for more volunteers to help.
The Friendship Alliance is a new initiative funded by the Better Care Fund that brings together four local non-profit organisations – the Link Visiting Scheme, Age UK Berkshire, Involve Community Services and the Wokingham Volunteer Centre to develop new ideas to tackle loneliness and improve the mental and physical wellbeing of residents.
The Friendship Alliance is looking to establish a network of Friendship Champions and Chatty Cafes across the borough to join them in their fight against loneliness. The Alliance will also be looking to expand their existing services, so more volunteers are needed. Volunteers are invited to offer as much or as little time as they can to provide; transport, hosting a chatty café, being a Friendship Champion or befriending a local resident in need of some company.
“We all experience times when we're struggling or not coping as well as we usually do, or where our circumstances and life events make things more difficult and challenging. This can lead to loneliness and social isolation and the council is supporting the Friendship Alliance to promote friendship and improve the health, wellbeing and independence of residents across the borough", said Cllr Charles Margetts, executive member for health, wellbeing and adult services.
“We are proud to support vital initiatives such as the Friendship Alliance through the Better Care Fund Programme. We want to do all we can to tackle loneliness and isolation especially in older people and make Wokingham Borough an even friendlier place to live.
“I would encourage anyone who is feeling isolated or lonely for what every reason to reach out to our friends at the Friendship Alliance and I thank all of our residents who give their time to support all our local charities.”
The Link Visiting Scheme, one of the local support providers behind the Friendship Alliance, provide a personalised visiting and befriending service to lonely and isolated adults who live in the borough.
“We want to promote friendship across our borough but we cannot do it alone,” said Marjie Walker, manager at the Link Visiting Scheme.
“Our success is built on the massive contribution from our volunteers and we would encourage anyone thinking of becoming a volunteer to please get in touch, it is so rewarding and our volunteers often say they get as much out of the friendships they make as their link friends”.
The other services within the Friendship Alliance include: a transport scheme, a gardening scheme, Community Navigation, handypersons services and more.
The Friendship Alliance will be working together and flexibly to meet the needs of individuals and enable them to feel part of the community and maintain independence.
If you are feeling lonely and would like to find out more about what’s on in your community and across the borough you can contact:
Link Visiting Scheme
0118 979 8019
Age UK Berkshire
0118 959 4242
To find out more about volunteering please contact the volunteer centre on 0118 977 0749 or firstname.lastname@example.org