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Community, Grants, Older People, Volunteering, Younger people

Meeting our Grantees: New Friends for You

20 December 2021

For our last ‘Meeting our Grantees’ post of 2021, we are really pleased to be able to share the work of ‘Friends for You‘, a small local charity based in Chorley, Lancashire.

Launched in 2016, Friends for You is a group of trained volunteers working with lonely or isolated people, along with an  After Loss Club for people who were bereaved which meets one day each week. During the Covid lockdowns demand on their services has increased, and they now have 90 volunteers connecting with 160 people. The increased demand meant that providing dedicated one-to-one services was becoming increasingly difficult, so the charity started a “talking tables” scheme where 5 cafes in Chorley set aside one table for one hour each week (a different day for each cafe) where lonely people can come and meet others in a similar situation.

Lancashire’s High Sheriff (centre) visiting the group.
A simple, but impactful way to support others.

A volunteer is at each table to welcome new visitors and keep the conversation going. Together with the visits or phone calls from  volunteers, which help the health and wellbeing of older people and The After Loss Club, the charity is providing a life-line to older people. The “talking tables” scheme is already proving successful in encouraging older people in the local community to come out and meet new people, helping their health and wellbeing and alleviating their loneliness.

One of the Talking Tables at a cafe in Chorley.

The outcome of these schemes will be to bring more older people out of their loneliness and make new friends at either the After Loss Club or at a “talking table”. Where this is not possible, the charity will continue to provide one to one support to those unable to leave their homes.

With such a wide range of activity and a growing need for their work, Friends for You were keen to hire a part-time member of staff to support and coordinate their work. We were delighted to be able to support this cost with a £5000 grant that alongside funding from the National Lottery, has meant that their new team member – Susan – is now hard at work.

Susan getting to work in her new role at Friends for You.

This small, but incredibly impactful charity, really does make a difference to the lives of others, and also shows the importance and value in funding core costs. Wherever we can, we look to make our funding unrestricted, so that small charities can ensure that critical overhead costs are covered. With Susan now in post, Friends for You volunteers can focus on providing the in-person support that is so valuable. A big thank you to all our supporters who have helped make this possible.

A perfect example of people helping people.