Friends for Friends, reaching out to people with learning disabilities

 

Can you spare an hour or two each week to bring happiness to a friend and yourself?

Thank You Pinner Tangent Club!

peter kelly receives cheque from Carol Randall Pinner Tangent Club

Pinner Tangent Club is a local ladies’ group with a focus on making friends and enjoying a programme of interesting and fun activities, as well as supporting local  causes through fundraising events. Their fundraising events this year were a stall at the Pinner Show and a Race Night, which they enjoyed while at the same time raising money for Friends for Friends.


In May 2014 Friends for Friends were invited by the Chairman of the Pinner Tangent Club to send a representative to a meeting of the club to talk about the work we do. One of our Trustees, Greg McCormick delivered the talk on 28th May, and Friends for Friends was adopted by the club as their charity of the year. Our sincere thanks to the ladies of Pinner Tangent Club for making us their charity for the last year, and for the generous donation of £600.00 which will be used to support outings with our friends with learning disabilities to canal boat trips or shows.

The photo on the right shows Friends for Friends Trustee Peter Kelly receiving the cheque for £600.00 from the Chair of Pinner Tangent Club, Carol Randall.

 

More Support from Waitrose

Just over a year ago Waitrose in Harrow Weald made us one of their community charities and we were given £210 as a direct result of customers' choices. We were delighted when Waitrose generously put our name up again - not only for the funds but because we at Friends for Friends are keen for the public to know more about us. This time donations came to £310. This is not only a generous donation, but a 50% increase on last time - despite the continuing austerity. Thank you Waitrose! Thank you shoppers!

The photo below shows the award ceremony with our own Adrian (right), together with Kay, Natalie and the duty manager.

waitrose donation

Charity Commission Chief Visits Friends for Friends

We were extremely honoured that Paula Sussex, the chief executive of the Charity Commission, visited our Pinner office on the 13th of March 2015. She spent time talking to members of the community and learning more about what we do.

Trustee Peter Kelly met Paula at the Directory of Social Change awards ceremony. "To win an award at the Directory of Social Change Awards was incredible and to have Paula come to our offices and see first hand the difference Friends for Friends is making for those with learning difficulties in the local area was the icing on the cake. We can't thank Paula enough for her generosity."

FionaDawn

As well as our Friends and Volunteer Friends, guests included the local MP Nik Hurd (former Minister for Civil Society) and local community leaders.

Nik Hurd Paula Sussex

Above: Trustee Peter Kelly, Nik Hurd MP and Paula Sussex

Friends for Friends Wins DSC Award!

Not the Distinguished Service Cross, but definitely for distinguished service. Friends for Friends was selected as the Directory of Social Change 2014 award winner for the category of Everyday Impact Award – Long Term Enterprises. After making it to the shortlist of three, the final choice of Friends for Friends was decided by public vote over the internet. Peter Kelly represented us at the awards ceremony (no, we didn't know the result in advance).

The category includes "individuals, small local companies or community groups who have a clear vision for change. They engage and involve others to bring about concrete results that can be seen and felt on a daily basis. This category is for long-term sustained enterprises that have been running more than 5 years." The other nominees were "Create" and the "Honey Rose Foundation".

The Directory of Social Change are the premier organisation in the charitable field supplying fund raising and other information for charities. The keynote speaker was Paula Sussex, CEO of the Charity Commission. Congratulations everybody!

DSC Awards 2014 - Everyday Impact, Long term enterprises

P.S. Love the artwork. It's by Grizelda who works for Private Eye, the New Statesman, and the Independent as well as appearing in books and greeting cards. Did Grizelda look at the new video?

The Video has been finished!

Training and supporting our volunteers is really important to us at Friends for Friends. When the Hedley Foundation gave us money to make a video the Trustees decided that training would be the main purpose of the video and as a bonus we could use it for recruitment. We considered three possible suppliers and in the end chose Dr Claire MacNeill.  We knew she would make a modern style video, and after she came to the One2One Christmas party it was obvious that she had tremendous empathy and sensitivity. And we were not disappointed!

The video features three pairs of friends – Peter and Michael, Margaret and William, and Tamsin and Hilary, together with Charles, Elliot, Emily, Hannah, James and Nikesh. Thanks to all for taking part and to several friends  who were filmed but in the end couldn’t be fitted in to the limited length of the video. Our “stars” showed amazing warmth and understanding and Tamsin revealed hidden talents as a presenter. It’s a great video.

If you haven’t seen the video yet and can’t wait for February, All our videos are on Vimeo. You can see the new video on Vimeo but you will need a password from Adrian. We made some promises about security to the people featured in the video and the password helps us to ensure that security.

The Open Day – and International Premiere

On the 5th October we hosted an afternoon for volunteers at the offices in Pinner.  About 30 people came and it was a great occasion, with tea, coffee, cakes and lots of conversation. We took the opportunity to show everyone the video and it was obvious that everyone who saw the video was impressed – and moved. We were able to show the video using the new projector purchased with a gift from David and Patricia Bays of Frustrated Communication. The occasion was so successful that we hope to run another volunteer’s afternoon next year. We also intend to show the video at the One 2 One club meeting in February. Don’t miss it!

Farewell to Anna

Unfortunately the funding for a volunteer coordinator has now run out, and so at the end of her contract we have had to say farewell to Anna. The committee is working out how to best continue the support we will always offer to our volunteer friends - and is fundraising! Our best wishes to Anna and thanks for all she has contributed.

Video

Since late 2013 we have been shooting a video to help with training. It will also be shown to potential volunteer friends and to charitable trusts. The video is being made for us by Claire MacNeill, who has demonstrated a tremendous empathy with our friends and the work of the charity. So far we have pictures from our Advent preparations, a special service at St Luke's, the Christmas party, two one to one club meetings, and interviews with several friends. Most of the shooting has been done and editing has now started (29th March). We hope the video will be finished in a couple of months.

The photo below shows Claire (photo right) discussing a shot with Tamsin while Hilary looks on. The green background will allow Claire to show the interview with Tamsin and Hilary in front of various different pictures of their activities.

The video - Claire Tamsin and Hilary

 

Donations

At Friends for Friends we are grateful for donations from many sources in recent months, including Pinner and Northwood Business Club, and a very generous £10,000 from a donor who wishes to be anonymous. The most recent donation (15 Jan 2014) was a much appreciated £210 from Waitrose (Harrow Weald). This represents votes from shoppers and tells us that our work is appreciated, but reminds us that there is much to be done to make the public aware of our work. The photo below shows the award ceremony with our own Adrian and Anna, together with Derek and Dawn, volunteer friend Maria and the duty manager.

tre

 

Archie's Blog

Archana Shah was one of the winners of Vodaphone's 2012 World of Difference competition. She chose Friends for Friends as her dream charity, and will be squeezing out some time from her busy family life to work for us for a few months. We are really looking forward to it!

Archie is a talented photographer, also an effective project manager, and she knows a lot about learning disability. We knew all that, but what we never realised until now is how well she can write. Archie is making a blog which you can find on the Vodaphone WOD website at http://worldofdifference.vodafone.co.uk/blogs/archana-shah2012/

You can email her at Archie@friendsforfriends.org.uk.