Vote for Mencap Liverpool

31/10/2016

We are supporting one of our clients Mencap Liverpool so they can get the most votes for the Aviva Community Funding.  Voting has gone live, all you need to do is register an email address on the site to vote for Mencap Liverpool's Befriending Scheme.  If Mencap Liverpool get the most votes in the four week voting period, they become finalists for a chance of the £10,000 funding.  Per email you get 10 votes, so if you have more than one.  Use all them to give Mencap Liverpool a fighting chance of winning the £10,000 funding.  

Click on the link and please share with your friends - https://www.avivacommunityfund.co.uk/voting/project/view/16-3629

Having friends and a social life is something that the majority of us take for granted but it’s often more difficult when you’re autistic or have a learning disability. It’s so much harder to make friends when you don’t have the same life opportunities as others, when you struggle to communicate, or understand social cues.

Mencap Liverpool's Befriending project supports the development of lasting friendships between members (people who have a learning disability) and individuals who share their interests. This really does change lives for the better. Befriending has a positive impact on members well-being, anxiety, depression and crucially reduces their social isolation. 

The friendships this projects creates become genuine and lasting, because they’re based on mutual interests. This aspect is what really makes the difference to the lives of our members, and their befrienders too!

However, creating these friendships takes a lot of work, and that’s where we need your help…. We currently have nine existing befriending pairs who are almost all completely independent, but we have no further funds to support the project. Although it sounds simple, it takes a considerable amount of work to recruit, support and match suitable befrienders. At first our members are often very under-confident and their isolation and lack of social skills can put pressure on the new friendship, so they also need lots of input.  

Paul was one of the first members to sign up to our Befriending Project when we started the project five years ago. It was a defining moment in his life and his friendship with Kevin is still going strong. 

Paul says: “I came to Mencap Liverpool because I wanted more to do. I wasn’t going out. I was bored. I wanted to get out and do things and make friends. I first met Kevin in 2011. We met in Costa with Lois from Mencap Liverpool. At first, I was nervous because I didn’t know him. This always makes me unsure. 

I started meeting Kevin every week. After two months I had got to know him well. I thought he was excellent! He was starting to become a real friend and I was getting out of the house more. With Kevin I go round the shops or go to the pub. We went to see Batman Live too! 

Before I met Kevin, the idea of going to the office frightened me. It was strange at first but I got used to coming and it gave me even more to do – it occupied my mind! I started coming for socials, and volunteering.”

Our project also has a positive impact on our volunteer befrienders too. Befriender Natalie explains;
“I find great satisfaction in sharing and encouraging Joanne my befriendee but I’m more surprised by how enlightening this whole experience has been and how much she has taught me about life. I love the great feeling befriending brings – knowing that I am making a small difference to someone's life fills me with great joy and its very rewarding.

Jo and I have similar interests but the one thing we do well together is laugh! We like to go walking and recently we went on a bike ride which was fun and a new experience for Joanne. Jo has a great personality and a wonderful sense of humour which I love. She is always genuinely pleased to see me and we have a great time together.

Both Paul and Jo have really grown in confidence since having a befriender, this has lead them to them becoming more independent and taking part in other activities and making many more new friends along the way.

We need you help to win the £10,000 we need to support the development of 10 new friendships over the next year. By taking care to develop these friendships in the right way to start with, they can have a hugely positive and lifelong impact.

Interested in becoming a Befriender, contact Mencap Liverpool direct for more details contact@mencapliverpool.org.uk

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