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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.
Two ways to thank your volunteers 

Free ‘Thank You’ cards for volunteers taking action on loneliness
As part of 2020’s National Befriending Week (1-7 November), RVA’s Ready Friends project is offering local community groups packs of up to 20 specially-designed Thank You cards for groups to then send to individual volunteers. There is space in each card for you to personalise them with the volunteer's name and the name of your volunteer coordinator or community group.
More volunteers than ever before have helped in many, many ways to support people facing loneliness and social isolation – especially during lockdown and beyond, where many people are still shielding and self-isolating.

If your group includes volunteers who have helped with befriending, buddying, community driving or checking-in calls (or in any other ways that reduce loneliness and social isolation) please get in touch with Rhiannon within the next 2 weeks to request a pack, at

It’s a small way to thank them for being so fabulous.

Social and Celebration Party
On 2 November, we are hosting a Social and Celebration Party for volunteers taking action on loneliness and social isolation, via Zoom. Volunteers are invited to join us to meet other volunteers and join in a variety of activities including:
  • A wellbeing session
  • A quiz
  • Seated Pilates
  • Chatty rooms
  • A discussion room

If you would like to send invitations to your volunteers, please contact Rhiannon ( who will email you the e-invite for you to forward on.  Spaces are limited at the event, so please get in touch with Rhiannon to request the e-invite and ask your volunteers to book early!

Take care support for ourselves and others

Small Silence 
Small Silence soundwalks employ a range of listening exercises to explore our relationship with everyday sounds. They also provide an opportunity for participants to respond to the soundscape through mapping, photography, sketching, knitting, creative writing and a host of other activities. The soundwalks are both informative and aim to cultivate a calm presence, not only beneficial for creative responses but providing the foundation for a clearer understanding of the impact of sounds on wellbeing. 



Checkout the RVA funding pages to see time-limited and rolling funding rounds.

Training and Best Practice Updates
RVA's Social Action and Volunteer Training Hub
Checkout RVA’s new Social Action and Volunteer Training Hub. We have gathered together a range of resources that may be of interest to those active in their local communities, through both formal and informal volunteering, as well as more general information about opportunities for personal development and employability skills.  RVA is keen to hear from volunteers and VCOs on what other training they would like to see on offer.

Befriending Networks
Befriending Networks’ Topical Training covers a range of topics designed to support volunteers and managers in a variety of roles and is available for members and non-members. They are on subjects that are offered online and face-to-face multiple times each year.  Click here for their current programme: 
Research & Surveys

Berkshire Vision - How Lockdown Affected Their Members
Berkshire Vision has produced a short episode of their podcast where members discuss how lockdown affected them. Following the announcement of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic on March 23, 2020, face-to-face support from all agencies was indefinitely suspended across Berkshire and social activities and opportunities to meet in person with individuals outside their own households ended overnight.

As most Berkshire Vision members live alone, this left them without anyone they could meet. Key services such as supermarkets and banks changed how they operated almost overnight, which disproportionately affected Berkshire Vision’s members. They included two-meter markers they could not see, signs limiting numbers of purchases they could not read, and staff unable to come close enough to assist.  Find out more from here:

No5 Young Ambassadors report – the impact of Covid-19 on local young people
Following many reports from national organisations about the impact of Covid-19 on young people, No5 wanted to give their Young Ambassadors the opportunity to share their experiences of the pandemic and how the lockdown impacted their lives, relationships and their mental health.  Read the report here:

Resources and ideas for befrienders and their befriendees

Art by Post from the Southbank Centre - deadline is 11 October
Art by Post booklets are designed by artists and inspired by our art collection and artistic programme at London’s Southbank Centre. The activities are designed for adults living with one or more long-term health conditions, who through Covid-19 restrictions are at further risk of isolation. They are especially interested in giving people living with dementia, and their supporters, access to creative resources.

Digital Inclusion

Get Online! 
RVA’s Get Online support is still open for business, just operating remotely. Our team of Get Online volunteers can offer help over the phone to get started, then we can help set up Zoom, Skype or WhatsApp so we can talk over video as well. We can also help with finding reasonably priced laptops, tablets and smartphones and getting better broadband and mobile deals.

Digital inclusion: Connecting Scotland
Tens of thousands of families across Scotland are set to receive a technology boost.  Around 23,000 low income households without proper internet access will be helped to get online with the assistance of £15 million of Scottish Government funding.

Articles, Webinars, Blogs & Podcasts

Campaign to End Loneliness blog - the challenge of volunteering during Covid-19
The fourth webinar of CTEL’s series on Loneliness in the time of Covid-19 focused on volunteers. 50 participants from charities, local government, academia, and health and care came together to share experiences, challenges and ideas. In this blog, Dan Jones reflects on what they heard.

“Even under “normal” circumstances, telephone befriending can be more intense – there are no natural breaks, like getting up to make a cup of tea. You can’t smile to lift the mood, nod to demonstrate understanding or sympathy, or read the other person’s expression to spot when they need more help or a change of pace.” 

Take care, everyone, Rhiannon
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