Befriending Providers Network
In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, a number of befriending services in Rotherham came together to look at how they could best support people in crisis. Rotherfed worked with public health to secure the funding from the office for health improvement and disparities, and The Befriending Providers Network was formed. The Network coordinated by VAR and Rotherfed, with support from RMBC and public health met regularly to explore what support was available locally, identify need and any gaps and took action in delivering support. Meetings are now bi-monthly.
We have also launched a community volunteer campaign called “Be A Good Neighbour” to foster/maintain the community spirit that has been evident throughout the pandemic encouraging residents to take part in small acts of kindness within our communities.
As part of the Good Neighbour Project - funded through the Better Mental Health Fund, VAR worked with Theory Media Productions to produce a series of films all about being a ‘good neighbour’. The films include information about Rotherham GISMO, volunteering, befriending services and information and resources about mental health. You can view films below…
The Good Neighbour Project
Good Things Foundation
RUCT Youth and Inclusion newsletter December
The Network is made up of a range of local partner organisations including; VAR, Rotherfed, REMA, RMBC, Public Health, Rotherham Citizens Advice Bureau, Age UK, Lets Befriend, Live Inclusive, Rotherham Parent and Carers Forum, YAWR Services, RUCST and Rotherham Rise. This diverse group of providers have offered varied services to a range of client groups such as BAME, older people, young people and families, people with mental health issues, and cover the whole life course within the partnership.
As a Network we have supported 815 residents of Rotherham who were lonely and isolated both due to the impact of Covid but also prior to the pandemic, with additional “next steps” support to take part in community life, engage socially with others and improve their mental health and wellbeing.