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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.

Happy Social Prescribing Day 2021!

Taking place on Thursday 18 March 2021, this year’s Social Prescribing Day will celebrate the thousands of people and projects helping to maintain the wellbeing of our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Taking action on loneliness and social isolation has been central to that effort and you can find out more about  how Reading's social prescribing services support that at next Thursday's Befriending Forum (25 March 1-2.30pm)
Here's your link to book on this free event: 
The right services at the right time.

  • What is social prescribing and how do people access it? Hear from RVA's Social Prescribers about their work and the community groups and organisations they often refer and signpost people to. 

  • Useful service and event guides - RVA Directory; Reading Services Guide; using Google

  • What's the difference between signposting and referral?

  • What training do my volunteers need?

PLUS - all the usual news, funding updates and networking opportunities.


Breaking news: RVA and partners awarded funding to boost social prescribing offer

Take care support for ourselves and others

Youth Loneliness - a series of short videos from Aardman Animations addressing a range of fears and worries, including loneliness and isolation.

Do you know a child or young person ‘in need of a hug’?

Project Linus donates handmade patchwork quilts to children and young people ‘in need of a hug’, offering comfort to someone not known to the maker through the security of a lovely quilt. They give quilts to children who might be ill, disabled, abused, bereaved, traumatised or just ‘in need of a hug’ because of family circumstances.

Orchestra Chums
Orchestra Vitae wants to make a real difference to those who are affected by loneliness, be that through age, mental health issues or bereavement. "If you can’t attend one of our concerts in person then you can still attend one of our events by watching online! We will be live-streaming all future concerts, so you can enjoy our music from the comfort of your living room! Keep an eye on our Events page for details. "


NEW! Barchester’s Charitable Foundation
The focus of the Barchester’s Charitable Foundation is about connecting or re-connecting people with others in their local community. Applications are supported that combat loneliness and enable people to be active and engaged. In particular they support:

Older people 65+
Adults (18+) with a physical or learning disability
Adults (18+) with mental health problems  

Check out RVA's new-look Funding Page for current and up and coming funding streams: 

Resources for groups and practitioners

Growing Connections, a guide to age-friendly, inclusive and welcoming community gardens.  


What works in tackling social isolation of older people in Bangladeshi Communities 


Training, Webinars and Best Practice Updates

Mental Health First Aid – Becoming Champions
23 March 2021 – Suicide Prevention Training – Suicide First Aid

The Alliance for Cohesion and Racial Equality (Acre) has raised funds to provide training for up to 16 community representatives in Mental Health First Aid – becoming champions; and Suicide Prevention – Suicide First Aid. This training is open to all minority ethnic groups/individuals including East Europeans. Acre aims to ensure that as many communities as possible are represented on the course. 

Routine measurement of outcomes for VCS clients including Social Prescribing
FREE Webinar 24 March, from the Bromley By Bow Centre

This webinar is intended for anyone working in primary care or Voluntary and Community Sector programme delivery and routine client/patient outcome measurement. 

Ideas and Innovations from Outside Reading

Natter Bench
A socially distanced ‘natter bench’ has been installed in a park in Leeds to combat loneliness during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The difference that neighbours make
Kind-hearted neighbours share how they're helping to tackle loneliness in lockdown 

Reports, consultations and surveys

How Can Design Help Mitigate Mental Health Issues Related to Loneliness in Placemaking?  A dissertation by Isobel Alcock from the School of Architecture at Reading University 

The longest year: life under local restrictions
The new report from the Red Cross explores the experiences of people living and working in areas under tighter local restrictions across the UK.

Active Travel Fund - Cycling, Walking and Public Transport.  Reading Borough Council wants to hear your views on our initial proposals in four areas of the Borough. 

Berkshire Youth consultation - have your say

Red Cross - Our Recommendations on tackling loneliness after Covid-19
Read the full set of recommendations from our report - Life after lockdown: tackling loneliness among those left behind 

Articles and webinars

You’ll often walk alone

Loneliness is a widespread problem with complex roots - article from The Economist 

Robotic dogs, laughter therapy and mindfulness could help people cope with loneliness and social isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic, researchers at the University of Cambridge have found. 


Why are lesbians the most lonely of all LGBTQ+ identities?

A new report from Just Like Us has found young lesbians are disproportionately lonely since lockdown. 

Take care, everyone, Rhiannon
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