Befriending Week 2019 Broke Records!

Sun 1 Dec 2019

The Countdown Began at 100 Days

The Befriending Networks Team were so excited about Befriending Week that the countdown began 100 days out with the launch of online resources. By the end of Befriending Week, 1996 resources were downloaded, with 365 of them being the Resource Pack!

Selfie Frame Successes

On 30 October, First Minister for Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, party leaders, and MSPs were photographed with the Befriending Week selfie frame at the Scottish Parliament. Some of these photos subsequently appeared on the BBC Reporting Scotland evening news and in the Daily Mail. And from Westminster Neil O'Brien MP was photographed in the selfie frame with our own Diane Claridge. The selfie frame also proved a popular photo destination as it traveled to training, common ground meetings, members' events, the Annual Befriending Conference in Edinburgh and the Parliamentary Event! Your #befriendingwell smiles lit up the cameras and the social media feeds. 

1 November

Social media can be an influential tool for raising awareness. Activity on social media was incredible this year, with the first day of Befriending Week seeing more engagement on Twitter than the whole of Befriending Week 2018! This was not through lack of effort in 2018, but a huge rise in member participation as well as shiny new graphics that could be easily downloaded via the new Befriending Networks Website. In total, Befriending Networks reached 101K impressions throughout the week on Twitter and achieved an organic reach of 7,000 on Facebook, with an extra 4,000+ through paid for advertising. This, of course, is only the start, with members' own posts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and other platforms reaching thousands more!

Befriending Stories

Stories of befriending changing lives not only demonstrate the impact and importance of befriending decreasing loneliness and increasing connection, they also encourage people to consider volunteering as befrienders. This year, Befriending Networks featured 14 stories from our members about befrienders, befriendees and staff. (If you missed them, they are still on the News page of the website as well as on social media). Even more amazingly, members shared 100+ of their own #befriendingwell stories, each inspiring and incredible!

Parliamentary Event

On 5 November, befriendees, befrienders and befriending staff from across Scotland and from services supporting people at all ages and stages gathered at the Scottish Parliament with MSPs to celebrate Befriending Week. Monica Lennon MSP opened the event, welcoming everyone, and was followed by an introduction by Befriending Networks CEO Sarah Van Putten. COVEY shared an animation as told from the perspective of a befriender, Befriending Lewis explained about the need for befriending in rural locations, a befriendee and befriender from Glasgow's Golden Generation shared about their long-lasting match, Strathcarron Hospice told about befriending's place in end of life care, LINK Adolescent Befriending's match had the room tearful with heartfelt words, and the evening was concluded with an enthusiastic address from Christina McKelvie MSP Minister for Equalities and Older People. 

Annual Befriending Conferences

100 + delegates, speakers, workshop leaders and stall holders gathered in Edinburgh for the Annual Befriending Conference for a day of learning and networking. An update on 'A Connected Scotland' was presented, volunteering statistics were shared, the pros and cons of social prescribing was considered, digital, organisational, physical and mental wellbeing was discussed and meaningful conversations were had over workshops and coffee. Copies of presentations can be found on the Resources area of the website. On 27 November, the Annual Befriending Conference welcomed around 40 attendees in London to another exciting conference day of discussions and sharing best practice. Copies of presentations will be forthcoming.

What's Next?

How can we make Befriending Week 2020 even better?

  1. Continue to celebrate in person with your befriendees, volunteers and staff; Befriending Week is a perfect opportunity to say Thank You!
  2. Spread the word about the positive impact of befriending with quotes, stories, photos and statistics online & on social media, to raise awareness about both your service and befriending more broadly.
  3. Start planning early. Befriending Week takes place 1-7 November annually, so have a repeating date set in your calendar! Its not too early to start planning (the Befriending Networks Team is!)

Do you have ideas for Befriending Week 2020? Do you have success stories from Befriending Week 2019?  Email

It's 11 months until Befriending Week 2020 and we're looking forward to it!