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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

Call for evidence to inform the South Yorkshire Local Nature Recovery Strategy.

Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS) are a new tool to support action for nature recovery at a local level across England. Introduced as part of the Environment Act 20211, South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) is the Responsible Authority undertaking the engagement and development work for the area covered by the Local Authorities for Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster and part of the Peak District National Park

VCS Alliance: Digital, Data and Insights Training and Support

In November 2023 we held a VCSE Alliance Working Together session ‘Digital Collaboration and Data and Insights Strategy’. In this session Dr Kieran Baker, Chief Digital and Information Officer for NHS South Yorkshire Integrated Care Board and colleagues from the Digital, Data and Technology Function shared the developing data and insights strategy, and facilitated a discussion on how we can use technology to collaborate better together and how can we work together to improve data collection and provide analytical insights from data that can inform decision making.

Are you in need of some office chairs?

The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (The University of Sheffield) have some office chairs to donate that need a good home.

The History

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.

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