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Befriend Masterclasses spark new connections

Building and developing community connections are important, particularly among workers and family members of people with disability, and one community development organisation intends to achieve these ties.

Befriend is undertaking a project to strengthen relationships within the Armadale and Gosnell communities with support from an Information, Linkages and Capacity-Building grant.

This project is aligned with the organisation’s aims – to advance the culture of connecting community, strengthening the social fabric of communities to reduce social isolation and loneliness.

Founder and Lead Consultant Nick Maisey recently facilitated two workshops called Community Connections Masterclasses for workers and family members who support people with disability.

“Building and developing meaningful relationships is complex and challenging for all of us,” Nick said.

“For some people, relationship development needs to be supported. This means so much more than just taking people ‘out in the community’ or just doing activities.”

The two workshops, held on 26 September and 2 October, were well attended – 28 participants signed up including people affiliated with disability service providers, community organisations, local government authorities, as well as family members and support workers of people with disability who self-manage.

Participants actively engaged in discussions and workshop activities to strengthen their knowledge, skills and practice approaches in supporting people to develop meaningful connections in their community.

Nick encouraged them to reflect on current support practices that could be limiting opportunities for meaningful relationships.

They learned to use a tool to map a person’s social network, develop a sustainable strategy to support community connections and ways to support individuals to deepen relationships with friends, family and neighbours.

“I learned how moving from ‘activity-focused’ to ‘role-focused’ will enhance lives more, increase the circle of friends and make someone less reliant on paid support,” a participant said.

“The tools were really valuable. They have been effectively communicated. I will be able to apply them to my work from tomorrow,” another participant said.

Befriend will facilitate more Masterclasses in early 2019, with all places funded through the ILC grant.

If you are interested, email Nick Maisey at nick@befriend.org.au or phone him on 0421 061 042.

Picture below shows the members of the Befriend organisation.

Befriend team