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Sudbury: Befrienders celebrating 25th anniversary in new premises

10:30 13 February 2014

The Befriending Scheme has moved to new offices in Sudbury. Pictured are Tash Young (administrator and tutor), Shirley Moore (CEO) with Vikky Tinsley (finance and office manager).

The Befriending Scheme has moved to new offices in Sudbury. Pictured are Tash Young (administrator and tutor), Shirley Moore (CEO) with Vikky Tinsley (finance and office manager).

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A charity which provides support to vulnerable people is celebrating 25 years of service to the Suffolk community.

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The Befriending Scheme was founded in Sudbury in 1989 by Shirley Moore, to offer help to groups and individuals with learning disabilities, older people and those with mental health needs.

It now helps more than 450 people across the county and has more than 300 volunteers on its books.

The charity’s core activities include running regular drop-in centres known as hubs, building meaningful one-to-one friendships between vulnerable people and volunteer befrienders, offering evening ‘Befrienders Clubs’ and Saturday morning groups.

Volunteers also organise one-off themed activity days, workshops and social events as well as providing volunteer training and support for carers across Suffolk.

To celebrate its 25-year milestone, the Befriending Scheme has just moved into new premises on The Croft in Sudbury, thanks to a mutually beneficial partnership between the charity and Northcroft Social Club.

Work to convert space above the social club into offices for the charity - which was previously based in Gainsborough Street - finished last week.

The new bigger facility boasts a training room for employability and member learning courses, and a training kitchen to help members gain basic yet important life skills.

Mrs Moore said: “We were given the opportunity to redesign the top floor of the building as we want it, which has enabled us to have a big open plan office to accommodate more staff.

“More importantly, it has given us a training room and kitchen so we can teach people independent living skills – things like washing and ironing, which we take for granted but vulnerable people often find difficult.”

The Befriending Scheme will officially celebrate its quarter century anniversary in June. Mrs Moore said she was “very proud” of what the charity has achieved over the years – and of the volunteers who have helped to make it such a success.

Visit www.thebefriendingscheme.org.uk or call 01787 371333.

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