The success of a friends group is not just down to the energy and commitment of the individuals who are part of it. It is also due to the strength of relationships – both within the group and with the service and local community.
We talked to Friends members Tracy Aldridge and Liz Rogers talk about what makes their group special and how they have involved the whole community in supporting their local service, Livability Wall Street in Hereford.
While there was a previous friends group at Wall Street, our present one was only started at the beginning of last year. The new group has helped to bring the service, local community and the families and friends of the people the service supports together.
The local community has been very supportive – some of our events have been attended and supported by local firms – including donations of raffle prizes – some of whom already had a relationship with the service. We also advertise our events in local shop windows, helping to spread the word. This really helped our Christmas event – a ‘friendship meal’ that we combined with a lively Christmas bazaar and raffle. This event was really well attended and raised quite a bit of money.
Raising money for different projects and involving the people we support in the fundraising process has brought us all close together. The new group is very proactive and motivated. Our success is due in part to everyone joining forces.
They are part of our fundraising initiatives and we make sure we listen to and act on their opinions, requests and wishes.
Our fundraising initiatives not only help to enhance our home – like our plans to refurbish the kitchen area – but also build positive relationships with the community. The more the people we support are involved in their local area, the better and richer their lives.
Last Spring, we held a fundraising barbecue. Family and friends were invited and we made sure we sent an open invitation to people in the community too. Local businesses had the opportunity to set up stall, who in turn donated a portion of their profits to the service, so it benefitted us twice over! To make the event a bit different, a local ukulele group came and entertained the guests which was great fun.