Befriending service awarded funds for social events

Village Friends' lunch party at Barnham Community Hall. Picture: Kate Shemilt ks170950-1
Village Friends' lunch party at Barnham Community Hall. Picture: Kate Shemilt ks170950-1

Volunteers who run a befriending service for the Six Villages area have welcomed new grant funding.

Village Friends is a small charity that operates a good neighbour scheme through volunteers making regular home visits and providing practical help when needed.

Sussex Community Foundation awarded the charity £1,485 to pay for three social events for the elderly and housebound, as well as contributing to advertising and running costs.

Chairman Meg Brackley said: “We are delighted to have received this grant. It means we can continue to support lonely, bereaved and possibly housebound people in our villages and we’re really grateful for the support of Sussex Community Foundation and its donors.

“On Monday, we held a summer lunch in Barnham Community Hall as the first of these social occasions for the people we visit.”

Village Friends was started around 20 years ago after a review of home care services in the area. It was launched in Barnham and Eastergate to start with, then later extended to Aldingbourne, Yapton, Ford, Walberton and Westergate.

Volunteers come from all walks of life and help a wide variety of people, of all ages, with many different problems.

Co-ordinator Elizabeth Folman said: “Our volunteers visit people in their homes for a chat and maybe a cup of tea, on the basis of good neighbourliness.

“The lunch has been greatly enjoyed by those whom we visit, who may not otherwise have many opportunities for socialising.

“Unfortunately, three of our clients were unwell on the day so the numbers were down but it went extremely well.

“There was one man who hadn’t really wanted to come as he hadn’t been before. It was just anxiety and lack of confidence really as he never goes out. He really enjoyed it.

“There was also a lady from a care home and it is her only outing so that was good.

“The more we do the more people get to hear about it.”

The volunteers will use the rest of the funds to put on a Christmas party in December and another lunch in February next year.

For information on the scheme, call 07925 217843, email Villagefriends6@gmail.com, or find Village Friends - six villages on Facebook.