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Our vision is a world where people are valued equally, listened to, and included in all that life has to offer

Hub Groups

Our regular drop-in centres, known as Hubs, provide a place for our members to learn new skills, have fun and make friends. 

Running at six locations across Suffolk, the range of activities on offer is increasing all the time. Our members try their hands at drama, music and crafts, and enjoy games, cooking and relaxing over tea and biscuits.

Friends Community Farm…

Opening Soon!

Our new Friends Community Farm (FCF ) in Assington, near Sudbury, will provide a safe outdoor environment with learning and friendship opportunities, including a Forest School programme. This new service will enable us to reach even more vulnerable adults, children and families, allowing us to provide valuable independent living skills education in a ‘family inclusive’ environment

Call the Friends Community Farm Leader on 07936 359132 for details of future activities.

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Small Animals

Better Together Groups

Sudbury and Hadleigh

Our Better Together Groups run in partnerships with the local children centre's. We run weekly sessions in Sudbury and twice weekly sessions in Hadleigh. We provide a range of fun craft and play activities as well as the opportunity for parents to build natural friendships.

 To help provide parents with information about the local community and services they can access, we regularly invite local organisations and professionals to come along and talk about what they do and how they can help.

 Contact Danielle on 01787 371333 for details

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Fortknights

Young peoples groups

We have two ‘Fortknights’ groups, alternating between Sudbury and Bury St Edmunds. They meet every two weeks to engage in fun and exciting activities, participating in everything from Go-karting and Dodgeball to science demonstrations and paintball. FortKnights helps to break down social isolation and make a positive difference to everyone who attends. As a small group, it is the perfect size for those who attend it and feel uncomfortable in large groups. The group is tailored to the members; sensitive to their individual needs, without letting their learning disabilities stand as a barrier to having fun and being involved in their community.

For more information on this service you can contact Will via email at will.ginno@thebefriendingscheme.org.uk

The Sudbury Fortknights group enjoying an outing at ‘Planetlazer’!

The Sudbury Fortknights group enjoying an outing at ‘Planetlazer’!

Out and About

This new service gives Hub members a chance to enjoy being part of their community and get to know their local area. 

Sessions are held in the evenings and at weekends, including trips to the cinema and local snooker club, fish and chip suppers, tenpin bowling, swimming and pub quiz nights. We believe everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy these simple activities and gain a sense of social inclusion.

We have weekly Out and About memberships available in Sudbury and Haverhill, with Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich, Lowestoft and Felixstowe offering fortnightly memberships.

Call the office on 01787 371333 for more information.

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Breathing Space

Ipswich, Newmarket and Norwich

Breathing Space is a project run by The Befriending Scheme, funded by Orbit housing, to support local communities in Norfolk and Suffolk by running community well-being groups. The groups are aimed at Orbit housing tenants however anyone can attend. 
Breathing Space community well-being groups are fortnightly social groups in Ipswich, Newmarket and Norwich for individuals to meet new people, try out crafts/ baking, discuss well-being, enjoy food and drink together all in a relaxed and friendly setting. Services offered include signposting and advice, mental health support, taking isolation, encouraging independence, links to local services and well-being activities.  All with an aim to support personal well-being.

For more information about this service you can contact Cat via email at cat.davison@thebefriendingscheme.org.uk

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Old Foundry Road Community Group

Ipswich

This is a group to support the residents living in the Old Foundry Road flats (Oak Housing) by providing a friendly, informal fortnightly session on Thursdays 10AM until 12PM to encourage residents to meet with one another, enjoy refreshments together, gain advice and support and improve personal wellbeing.

 

You can attend as many or as few of our activities in your area as you like. The more activities you sign up to each week, the cheaper each session becomes!

In some areas we have extended our Hub groups to twice a week. Hubs are fun, interactive and educational, and allow you to build meaningful friendships with others.

Our new and exciting Out and About services include weekly or fortnightly activities in the community. It could be a trip to the bowling alley or the cinema, or a meal out with the group, all included in the membership fee.

See which membership type suits you best from our options below, or get in touch to talk to us about becoming a member.

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Silver

One weekly Hub group.

£1500 per year

Silver Plus

SUDBURY / HAVERHILL
One weekly
Hub group plus
One weekly Out and About activity.

£2230 per year

 

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Silver Plus

IPSWICH / BURY St EDMUNDS,
STOWMARKET / LOWESTOFT
One weekly
Hub group plus
One fortnightly Out and About activity.

£1850 per year

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Gold

Two Hub groups per week.

£2600 per year

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Platinum

Two Hub groups per week.
One weekly Out and About activity.

£3120 per year

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NEW!
Out and About

Option 1:
Fortnightly social activity.

£400 per year

Option 2:
Weekly social activity.

£800 per year


One-to-one Befriending

We carefully match our members with volunteer befrienders based on shared interests and where they live.

This service is open to people with a learning disability only.

Members build confidence and new skills, form a meaningful friendship with a committed befriender, and become more engaged in their local community.

“Lisa is an excellent befriender. She is kind and patient with my deafness and I really appreciate her. I’m glad to have her company.”

Beth, talking about her linked friend, Lisa.

FAQs

+ What is a One-to-one Befriender?

A Befriender is a volunteer who would like to spend some time with a member on a regular basis to provide them with friendship, companionship and support. Volunteers are required to volunteer for 2-3 hours a month and may meet with their linked friend once a week, once a fortnight or once a month. Meetings will be arranged with the support of your Link Co-Ordinator. Befrienders are there to listen and to talk with. If able to, members are encouraged to get out and about in their local community with their befriender to carry out social activities. Activities can be anything from meeting for coffee, going to the cinema, museums or even fishing. Members may even have the opportunity to go for days out, to the seaside for example. Our volunteer Befrienders are able to meet their linked friend at home where needed.

Members and volunteer befrienders are matched on location, hobbies and interests and personality.

All volunteers will have completed a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and will have completed an induction to the service.

+ How much does this service cost?

This is a free service for those who are eligible. Members will need to cover only the cost of their own activity, food and drink. Volunteers will pay for their activity, food and drink separately.

+ Who is eligible for this service?

To be eligible for this service individuals MUST:

  • Live in Suffolk
  • Be over 16 years old
  • Have a learning disability.
  • Not be accessing another face-to-face befriending service
  • Have limited social contact or regularly experience feelings of loneliness and / or isolation

The Befriending Scheme have the right to review the eligibility of individuals at any time where it is felt necessary to do so.*

+ What about care and support needs?

The purpose of the one-to-one service is for volunteer Befrienders to provide individuals with company and companionship. Volunteers are not trained in personal care and are not responsible for addressing any personal care and support needs. This includes but is not limited to washing and dressing members, taking members to washroom facilities, providing meals for members and administering medication.

+ How can I apply for this service?

If you would like to apply to have a Befriender, or would like to refer an individual to the service, you will need to complete a referral application form.

To fill in the form online click here or call our office to request a paper form. For more information, please call 01787 371 333.

You will need to return paper copies of the form by post to:

The Befriending Scheme
Above Northcroft Social Club,
1 The Croft
Sudbury
Suffok
CO10 1HN

Once the application form has been received, our One to One Link Co-Ordinator will be in touch to discuss eligibility.

*Please note that due to high demand, there may be a delay in the Link Co-ordinator contacting new referrals. We thank you for your patience. *

Applicants who are eligible will be added to The Befriending Scheme’s waiting list for a Befriender. For individuals who are not eligible, we will do our best to signpost them to other organisations or support groups that may be better suited to their needs.

+ Who can I contact about this service?

If you would like to know more about this service, please give us a call at the office on 01787 371 333 or email us at info@thebefriendingscheme.org.uk