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Ready Friends Toolkit launched – to take action on loneliness and social isolation

At the Reading Befriending Forum on 16th May, a new toolkit was launched by Reading Voluntary Action (RVA) in partnership with Reading Neighbourhood Network (RNN), to inspire and equip local people to take action on loneliness in their street, community and with friends and family.

The toolkit – as an 8-page booklet plus a more in-depth online version ( - is  packed with ideas, tips, information and downloadable resources to help people take action – today!

RVA and RNN work with local people wanting to set up groups and run events in their neighbourhood or across Reading, to make a difference to the lives of people in the town.

“There’s already lots going on in the hundreds of community groups and charities that we’re so lucky to have here in Reading,” said Rhiannon Stocking-Williams from RVA, who co-produced the toolkit with David Neale from RNN, “but there are still so many people who don’t know what’s on offer to them or even how to get there.  I hope this toolkit will help close that gap and well as show people how easy it is to make a big difference to those who often don’t see a soul all day.”

The toolkit provides help and information, including:

  • finding out what’s on near me
  • help finding what’s right for me
  • using the internet
  • getting there
  • local befriending and buddying services
  • starting something in my neighbourhood
  • things I can do for myself and for others.

The online toolkit delves deeper and will be of interest to existing community groups wanting to develop their services, including sections on

  • demonstrating impact
  • quality awards
  • latest research.

The toolkit will grow over time and respond changing needs in Reading’s communities. There are plans to add a Street Party Starter Kit in the summer and to secure funding to create new versions for specific communities.  In addition to the online version and 8-page booklet, which is also available to download, there will shortly be an interactive, accessible PDF for people with visual impairment.

Rhiannon says “People can be nervous about starting a conversation and may not even spot the signs that someone may be lonely and isolated – so there’s help with that in the toolkit, as well. I urge anyone interested in starting something in their street or community to get in touch with us at RVA, to find out what we can offer in support to get them going.”

RVA, based in Reading Central Library, is the go-to place for anyone wanting to run an event or set up a group in their neighbourhood or community. Their specialist team of staff and volunteers can help with information, news, legal advice, access to resources, publicity, volunteer recruitment and training.  Find them at / / 0118 937 2273 / 3rd Floor, Central Library, Abbey Square, Reading RG1 3BQ. Registered charity number 1045782    Company registration number 2982252

Copies of the 8-page toolkit are available from RVA at the above address during weekday library opening hours or by emailing