A befriending scheme launched two years ago to combat loneliness has been rebranded and expanded.
The successful Link Visiting Scheme for older people in Steyning, Upper Beeding and Bramber has been adapted to include families.
The new visiting service, now called beFriend, was launched in The Hub Café in Upper Beeding.
More than 60 people, including representatives from West Sussex County Council, Horsham District Council, Sussex Police, schools and children and family services, joined volunteers and members of The Hub to hear more about the changes.
The Rev Peter Butchers, leader of The Hub and church minister, explained: “beFriend is an initiative to combat isolation and loneliness among those who live in Steyning, Beeding, Bramber and surrounding areas by connecting people together.”
Debbie Wood, seniors worker for The Hub, added: “beFriend links people across the spectrum of society who would benefit from extra support or friendship with a volunteer from within the community.
“Their role is to draw alongside, listen and help them to find solutions to daily challenges.”
The service ensures people of all ages have support, so they do not feel they have to face life alone.
Vicki Butchers, children and families worker for The Hub, said: “Families come in all shapes and sizes and beFriend is for families as well as individuals. For example, we’re finding young mums benefit hugely from having a dedicated volunteer to help them navigate some of the struggles of family life.”
West Sussex cabinet member David Barling and Horsham community development officer Rachel Evans spoke about the great need for a service such as beFriend in the area and one of the volunteers spoke about the positive impact her role had on her own life.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for information on volunteering or to find out how to benefit from the service.
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