The spotlight on...Let's BeFriendsDate posted: 1st April 2022
Every month we will feature a different voluntary, community or faith sector organisation across the Bay. This time the spotlight is on…Let's BeFriends.
Let’s BeFriends was set up by people with lived experience of homelessness, who were involved with the Lancaster City Council-run homeless advisory group.
As a result of the Everybody In campaign at the beginning of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) first lockdown, we noticed there was a big gap in the current services for the homeless or people under the threat of homelessness.
What services does your organisation offer?
Let's BeFriends said: "Let’s BeFriends provides the recently re-housed, homeless or people under threat of homelessness with companionship.
"We help with their tenancy, finding accommodation, referring into other services, introducing service users to local community groups in an effort to break their currently destructive social circles.
"We also offer service users:
- budgeting advice
- cooking lessons
- help to register with a GP
- support by accompanying them to appointments and vaccinations (including COVID)
- support on their journeys through detox and into rehab.
"We are totally person-centred and let them tell us their priorities and in what order they want to tackle them."
How many people are currently using the service?
Let's BeFriends said: "We supported approximately 42 people in 2021 (not including family members of service users)."
Feedback from people using the service:
Let's BeFriends said: “JH is always grateful for all I do for him and often say's so.”
JH’s service user case study can be read here.
Can you tell us about any future projects?
Let's BeFriends said: "The demand for our service is still very high. We have had to expand from four volunteer befrienders to our current 23. We will have to continue recruiting to meet the demand and have a second project coordinator. It has also benefitted our befrienders with their own confidence, giving them transferrable skills and training. Three of our befrienders have moved on into full-time employment and two onto further education."
How can I get involved and find out more?
Let's BeFriends said: "We are always on the lookout for new volunteers, especially (but not exclusively) people with lived experience of being homeless. You can find out more at the Let’s BeFriends Facebook page here or call Louise on 07871 902764 or email firstname.lastname@example.org."
You can download a PDF version of the case study here.