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Ready Friends News
Hi all, I hope you and your loved ones are all keeping safe and well. Welcome to your regular Ready Friends update.

Ready Friends Befriending Forum

25 participants joined the March Befriending Forum from across Reading’s community and statutory.  The event was themed The Right Service at the Right Time - supporting people to find the services and events that are just right for them. From starting the conversation to making the referral.  
Click here for the main slides.
Click here for the report.

Next Forum - 24 June “A Warm Welcome” - Reopening Our Face to Face Services
Click here to book

Community Participatory Action Research Facilitator – closing date 5 May 2021
This is an exciting opportunity to facilitate a local community participatory research project as part of a voluntary and statutory sector partnership. The role will support local researchers from minority ethnic communities in Reading to co-produce and carry out community research into widening health inequalities.
Click here for more information.


Take care support for ourselves and others

Vaccine helpline for Reading
Reading voluntary organisations are working together to support people to access their vaccine as they become eligible.  RVA has opened a central helpline for carers, family, professionals and individuals in need of support: 0118 334 1091.
Click here for more information.  

Digital Inclusion - support for households facing financial hardship
RVA is still accepting applications from community groups on behalf of people who need to get online but cannot, due to financial hardship. The free offer includes one or more of the following:

  • Kit - RVA would purchase a tablet, laptop, refurbished desktop PC or smartphone (depending on the needs of the client) 
  • Connectivity: If paying for broadband is not possible, RVA would purchase a plug-in 'mi-fi' box with a preloaded sim depending on the likely usage in any one household.  If we are successful with subsequent funding applications, we may be able to offer a top up to the sims, if needed, but this is not guaranteed. RVA is unable to pay for broadband. 
  • Tech support - Our Get Online team could then help the household set up and get started using the equipment if they need assistance.  Clients' caseworkers may be asked to offer interpreting where needed.  RVA will also provide a factsheet on data usage of different apps, so that users are aware which are the most and least data-hungry and can plan their usage if they have a data-limited sim.

Here's the link to the application form to use on behalf of individuals needing support from this digital inclusion project:    

WFH loneliness: 9 brilliant initiatives launched by UK companies to encourage connection
From weekly catch ups to a virtual ‘diary room’, here are some of the brilliant anti-loneliness initiatives being used in companies across the UK to support employee wellbeing.
Click here for more information.
Talking Bubble - telephone befriending
This is a UK-wide project which aims to provide over-the-phone befriending service to individuals who need social support.
They match people with trained volunteers who are like-minded and share the same interests. Additionally, they offer befriending service in Albanian, Arabic, Greek, Kurdish, Romanian, Russian, Turkish, and many more languages.
Click here for more information.

Berkshire Community Foundation Vital for Berkshire Coronavirus Fund – deadline 10 May 2021
BCF will be allocating funds to local charities, community and voluntary groups impacted by and working to help people affected by the ongoing Covid-19 crisis in Berkshire.
Click here for more information.

Berkshire Community Foundation Funds for Older People – deadline 10 May 2021
BCF manages a number of funds which aim to support projects tackling issues affecting older people, such as isolation, disability or disadvantage.
Click here for more information.
Berkshire Community Foundation Grant application tips for small charities 6 May
Join Berkshire Community Foundation for their next Community Focus event, for smaller charities and community groups with annual incomes of up to £25,000.
Click here for more information. 

SSEN Resilient Communities Fund – Central Southern England 
The fund is open for applications until Thursday 10 June 2021. This year the fund will focus on support for vulnerable community members and projects which improve community participation and effectiveness; and projects which improve community resilience to emergency events.
Click here for more information.

And there's lots more on our Funding Page. Just a click away!

Resources for groups and practitioners

Coronavirus updates for community groups and charities
Click here for up to date information and guidance from NCVO

Fun Palaces 2021 launch
Fun Palaces supports local people to co-create their own cultural and community events, across the UK and worldwide, sharing and celebrating the genius in everyone.
Click here for more information.

Training, Webinars and Best Practice Updates

Helping Hand, Making Every Contact Count 5,12,19 & 25 May 1.30pm to 2.30pm on Zoom.
For Befrienders & Volunteers supporting vulnerable and isolated people.
Booking Essential, please email
Click here for more information.

Campaign to End Loneliness webinar 29 April
Workshop exploring how we can support people going through bereavement and experiencing loneliness during the Covid-19 pandemic
Click here or more information. 

Emergency first aid at work – for people in the voluntary sector and community groups 28 April
A one day course for people in the voluntary sector and community groups. Intended outcomes are:

  • Knowledge of appropriate procedures.
  • Practical experience
  • Accredited certificate, valid for 3 years

Click here for more information.
Mental Health Aware Course 18 May
Through an interactive instructor-led live session you, will learn:

  • what mental health is and how to challenge stigma
  • introduction to some common mental health issues
  • to support someone who may be experiencing mental ill health
  • ways to look after your own mental health and support wellbeing.

Click here for more information.
Spokesperson Training 
This new training programme aims to diversify the voices we hear in the media and make it more representative of the society we live in.
Click here for more information.

Reminiscence Training 17th August 2021 at 3pm- 4pm.
Reading Museum is holding another free memory box (Reminiscence) training session.  The session will give you an introduction to the museum’s memory boxes and to the topic of reminiscence. It is suitable for anyone interested in using reminiscence as part of their work. The session is free (normally the museum charges for training) and will be held virtually via zoom. If you are interested in attending please get in touch with Rebecca James at Reading Museum

Ideas and Innovations from Outside Reading

Bringing Londoners Together
A toolkit for civil society to capture lessons learned through the pandemic and plan for the future.
Click here for more information.
Civil Society - Stories of Togetherness
Civil Society has recently launched a project to collect Stories of Togetherness. Over the lockdown months, they’ve heard some amazing stories of how local groups and Community Champions in their communities have been bringing people together #CommunitiesCan
Click here for more information.

Befriending for Refugees and asylum-seekers
Napier Friends - will be offering a virtual befriending service to refugees and those seeking asylum in England who are over 18 years old, so that they have a way to practice conversation in English through regular What’s App or zoom calls. As the service will be virtual, it means that it can be continued if and when the refugee is moved to different locations or accommodation so that support is continuous.
Click here for more information.

Reports, consultations and surveys

Staying Together Recovering Together
This interesting report produced by Time to Talk Befriending and University of Sussex is based on research capturing the experience of befriendees and befrienders during the pandemic. 
Click here for more information.
Positives of Digital Connection
The latest national Ageing Better learning report has been published, looking at the Positives of Digital. The “Bridging the Digital Divide” report identified the different groups of people struggling to access digital content, the barriers they faced and insights from across Ageing Better on how to respond. 
Click here for more information.
A connected recovery: Findings of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Loneliness Inquiry
The inquiry explored problems and identified solutions within four crucial policy areas, including: 

  • translating national policy into local action through local authorities
  • community infrastructure (including housing, transport and public spaces)
  • how to adequately fund the voluntary and community sector upon which social prescribing depends
  • designing and implementing ways to test the implications of government policies on loneliness.

Click here for more information. 

Articles and webinars

The social biome: how to build nourishing friendships – and banish loneliness The Guardian
Click here for the article. 

Take care, everyone, Rhiannon
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