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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.

Befriending Forum  

I know!  Where did that time go?! Join us on 24 September from 1-2.30 for the next quarterly Befriending Forum where we'll be talking about how local people can access information about activities and services if they don't  speak English, read in their own language or are unable to get online.  

We will hear from Reading Community Learning Centre and other local groups supporting people who speak other languages and we’ll identify the challenges and opportunities for improving access for everyone in Reading to the amazing variety of community support and activity in our town.

You can book from this link where you will also find the Zoom link and guidance for using Zoom:

Here's something you can do for us, ahead of the Forum.  We'd like to know what you think about providing information on paper (flyers, posters, booklets), for people unable to get online.  It's a very quick survey (I promise!) and we'll be discussing the results at the Forum.  Grab a cuppa and click here:

Take care support for ourselves and others


Action for Happiness offers free webinars, podcasts, downloadable resources, monthly happiness calendars and lots more to brighten your day.
Local support for individuals and families
Just a reminder about RVA’s resources page for individuals and families that gets updated regularly: Coronavirus Community Action
Reduced costs fundraising training sessions
If your charity or community group is looking for online affordable fundraising training over the next couple of months, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) are running online workshops.
For small organisations, NCVO have a reduced fee of £46 per workshop (which generally runs from 10am – 3pm with breaks). This is a fraction of their usual costs for in-person training days in London (normally £200). You will need to be an NCVO member to be eligible for the discount (membership is free for organisations with an annual income below £30,000 – more details here).

RVA's Funding opportunities round-up - click here for the latest funding opportunities
Training and best-practice updates
NB - TOMORROW!! RBC Community Buildings Briefing - Wednesday 19 August
The Facilities Team at Reading Borough Council is hosting a briefing for those who manage or are responsible for community buildings, including Voluntary Sector organisations who currently run or manage a community building. (Please note that the session is not pitched at hirers). Click here for more information

The government updated its guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable individuals on 1 August 2020 and paused ‘shielding’.
Community groups and charities may be wondering how this affects their volunteers, staff and service users.  Click on the link for some common questions that we have had and some answers to help you when planning your services and involving volunteers, who may be clinically extremely vulnerable.



Click here for dementia-friendly activity ideas, tips for managing changing symptoms during coronavirus and the new government guidance for care home visits:

Face masks - Some people with dementia may not like wearing a face covering, or understand why they should wear one. Read advice from The Alzheimer’s Society on how to help and who may be exempt from wearing a mask.


Research & Surveys
Mutual Aid Groups
The public response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been a source of much-needed hope. Thousands of spontaneous, voluntary Mutual Aid groups have emerged to support the most vulnerable people in our society. They are supplying food and medicine, connecting with those who are lonely, and organising community resources. In many cases these groups have been able to help people far more rapidly and flexibly than traditional public services. Find out more from this link, and an interesting downloadable report on Mutual Aid Groups.

New report from The Campaign to End Loneliness 
This report aims to address the current gap in our understanding of the psychological and emotional aspects of loneliness. It covers the role these play in our ability to form meaningful connections and how this knowledge can inform and improve the support for those experiencing loneliness, particularly chronic and severe loneliness.

Survey on what unites and divides us 
On the NHS’s birthday, 5th July, the /Together coalition brought people together across the UK in a shared moment of thanks.  /Together believes that moments like these, when we come together to focus on what we have in common, are important. "Our aim is to help build a kinder, closer and more connected society. We all need to be part of that."

They want to hear what you think - about what unites or divides us and how we can reconnect with each other. Please take a few minutes to answer their survey:a major new survey 

Resources and ideas for befrienders and their befriendees

Camerados is a growing movement of people from Baltimore to Blackpool who get through tough times by looking out for each other.  Find out more here: 

Calling all Makers! 

Just because you can’t go outside, or prefer not to, that doesn’t mean you can’t make a brilliant Fun Palace!

Don't know what a Fun Palace is?  Have a look at this toolkit for making a Tiny Fun Palace, as many of the ideas there may work for you too. Here are a few more ideas I hope might help.

Remap Berkshire is up and running!  

Remap Berkshire is once again able to design and make bespoke disability equipment for anyone with a disability or special need where nothing suitable is otherwise available commercially.   They say “As ever, there is no charge and no tedious forms to fill in - i.e. no extra load on you. Our volunteer engineers work to strict Covid guidelines.”  

More information is available here and this BBC news item also describes what they can do:

You can contact Remap Berkshire directly at the or by their national contact form.”

Articles Webinars & Podcasts


Breaking Barriers Innovations (BBI) and the Connection Coalition organised a webinar on the 30th of July entitled “A Little More Conversation, A Little More Action: Joining Up our Approach to Social Isolation and Loneliness Around Community and Place.” Over 200 people from over 150 organisations sign up for the event demonstrating the shared belief that this an urgent issue to address. Click here to find out what was discussed.


In this webinar The Centre for Ageing Better explored what we can learn from the COVID-19 pandemic about how to support people to get online and stay online.

Digital Inclusion

YUoR Community Champions is a new student volunteer scheme from the University of Reading, which matches student volunteers to local community organisations in Berkshire. Student volunteers will remotely support community organisations with their technical, digital or admin needs.


FREE WiFi for all
In response to COVID-19, Community Organisers and community partners have launched #OperationWiFi – a campaign to create the largest free to use open WiFi network for communities during the outbreak. Find out more and add your voice here:

Take care, everyone, Rhiannon
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