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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.

RVA Annual report 2020-2021

What a year!  If you missed our AGM last week, you can catch up on what RVA has been up to over the past year by having a read of our annual report 2020-21.  Click on this link to download it.

Befriending Forum on 9 December 2-3.30
How to understand and manage professional boundaries around the mental health needs of service users, volunteers and staff in frontline voluntary and community organisations.

Olga Zilberberg, therapist, will be running a workshop for VCOs who offer befriending and other support activities for people facing loneliness.

Ashley Hitchman from Compass Recovery College will tell us about their Mental Health small grants, forthcoming mental health peer support network and additional free training for staff and volunteers in VCOs which starts in January.
Click on this link to book.
Take care support for ourselves and others

Sport in Mind December timetable
Any moment now, SiM will publish their December timetable of free activities from walking, yoga and basketball to dancing, tai chi and tennis.
Click here to check for updates.

Frazzled Cafe - online
Check out their new Mindfulness Thursdays with Rebecca O - 17:30 - 17:50.  After the success of their Tuesday Mindfulness mornings with Alex,, they have  added another session on Thursday afternoons with Rebecca O.
Click on this link for more information and to book.

On Happiness - a season of events from the Wellcome Collection
From serenity to ecstasy, contentment to awe, happiness encompasses many different positive feelings. What it means to be happy has preoccupied thinkers throughout history, and each of us has our own ways of feeling good. On Happiness is a season of free events, activities and two exhibitions – Joy and Tranquility – which celebrate the complexity of positive emotions and invite you to explore the big questions.  
Click on this link to find out more.

Dementia Café at Reading Football Club
There’s an exciting new Dementia Café which Age UK Berkshire launched in partnership with Reading Football Club in November.  The café will run from 10:00 – 12:00 on the third Wednesday of each month and will take place in the Players Lounge at The Select Car Leasing Stadium (Formerly The Madejski Stadium) in Reading. The café is free to attend and refreshments will be provided.  Ample parking is available on site.  
Click here for more information.

Mental Health Sustainability Fund: Helplines funding – Deadline 3 December 2021
Here’s the link for more information.

High Street Heritage Action Zone Cultural Programme Grants – Oxford Road – deadline for stage 1: 10 December 2021, 5pm
Here’s the link for more information.

Foyle Foundation – small grants scheme
Here’s the link for more information.

Schroder Charity Trust grants
Here’s the link for more information.
Resources for groups and practitioners
Lonely Not Alone has free resources to help you get involved on social media, or at your school, academy, college or youth project.  
Click here for their resources.

In This Together toolkit
The toolkit is aimed at everybody who supported their local community during the pandemic. It is designed to help you and your neighbours reflect on your activities during the pandemic and to support you to continue using this energy to strengthen your community.
Click here for the toolkit.

How to host a hybrid meeting    
How often should people come into the office? How should the office timetable be managed? Is everyone feeling included, with plenty of face-to-face contact?
Here Charity Digital talks us through these questions and more around how to create workable hybrid working.
Click here for the guidance.
Training, Webinars and Best Practice Updates

Free health walk training 8 December 9am-1pm
Is your group interested in running or supporting health walks in the local community?
RVA is working with Gordon Malcolm from Dementia Adventure, Chris Brooks who leads Sonning Common Health Walks, and Reading Golf Club to provide a limited number of free spaces on Health Walk Training for voluntary and community groups across Reading.
Click here for more information and to book.

8 December 3-4.30pm Belong Collective re-launch: addressing youth loneliness beyond COVID-19
The Belong Collective aims to be a cross-sector network, which is focused on connecting practitioners to share learning, challenges, good practice and new thinking about youth loneliness.
Click here to register for the event.

Mental Health and Wellbeing Know How
To help you support your staff and volunteers as we come out of the covid-19 pandemic, NCVO has updated its mental health and wellbeing at work content on NCVO Knowhow. Here’s the link for more information.

Reports, consultations and surveys

Building stronger communities in post-pandemic Britain
This report presents the findings of the inquiry carried out by the All Party Parliamentary Group on social integration during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. It builds on the APPG’s earlier report Social Connection in the COVID-19 Crisis, published in May 2020. The focus of the second stage of the inquiry was on stronger and more connected communities. It included a particular emphasis on the role of volunteering and of business as a major stakeholder in local communities and in people’s lives.
Click here for the report.

Together through tough times
New research by Co-op, Mind, SAMH and Inspire shows the vital role of communities to mental wellbeing.
Click here for the report.

Meetings and events coming up

RBC announces Narrowing the Gap update sessions and workshops - 25, 29 & 30 November
Local voluntary sector organisations that are interested in Narrowing the Gap – the council’s commissioning framework for Voluntary and Community Sector services – are invited to a series of update events and workshops.
Click here for more information.

Ideas and Innovations outside Reading

‘It began with cider’: how a group of young parents transformed a Somerset harbour
Click here for the article.

Articles and Webinars

The universe goes on forever. Loneliness doesn’t have to.
Take a step into the Lonely Not Alone universe, a safe place for young people to share stories, find our tribe and discover the one small step that could help to make things better.
Click on this link to begin your journey around the universe…

Ruby Wax on life after loneliness: ‘I always felt isolated. Mindfulness helped me drop my armour’  The Guardian
Click on this link for the article.

2021 villains are loneliness and isolation
For some, remote work can be a safe haven against microaggressions or other external discomfort. And for others, the home office is a prison tower of loneliness.
Click here for the article.

Is Social Disconnection Comparable to Smoking? Ted Talk by Julianne Holt-Lunstad
Click here for the Ted Talk.


Take care everyone, Rhiannon
Ready Friends Toolkit
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