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More than sixty people, including representatives from West Sussex County Council, Horsham District Council, Sussex Police, Children and Family Services and local schools joined volunteers and members of The Hub for the launch event of beFriend visiting service, hosted in the Hub Cafe in Upper Beeding. The Hub have rebranded and expanded their successful Link Visiting Scheme for seniors, to enable them to include and offer support to families.

“beFriend is an initiative to combat isolation and loneliness among those who live in Steyning, Beeding, Bramber and surrounding areas by connecting people together,” said Rev Peter Butchers, The Hub leader and church minister.  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 is not only for seniors but for all ages.  Vicki Butchers, Children and Families worker for The Hub commented, “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.  beFriend ensure that people don’t feel like they have to face life alone.

Councillor David Barling and Rachel Evans, Community Development Officer for Horsham District Council spoke about the great need for a service such as beFriend in our area and Jo, a current volunteer, spoke about how volunteering had positively impacted her own life.  Anyone interested in volunteering for beFriend or who knows someone who might benefit from the service, are encouraged to get in touch contact Vicki Butchers or Debbie Wood