Friendly Communities of Leicestershire

Friendly Communities of Leicestershire is an initiative led by communities, supported by Leicestershire County Council to achieve greater inclusion of all residents, aiming to create cohesive, resilient and friendly environments where people can participate and collaborate regardless of their conditions and personal situations. In a post Co-Vid19 scenario, where communities have come together regardless of their status or situation, Friendly Communities approach can support, encourage and help to build up stronger and more resilient communities across Leicestershire.

The main focus is on low-level support and kind actions delivered by and within communities, from helping an elderly person to be part of their community by just checking on her/him to welcoming new people into their community, perhaps encouraging a greater engagement of different parts of the community on initiatives such as the Dementia Friendly Action, Autism Friendly environments and awards or the Friendly Bench, of which you can see details about below, but it can also be cooking lessons for young parents or older residents organised in the community. The aim is to include a greater number of individuals, from people that may feel lonely or isolated, with learning or physical disabilities or just simply someone new in his/her community that want to feel part of the place where they live.

Communities that are friendly, cohesive and inclusive are more resilient and can better contribute to greater levels of well-being, helping people to feel less isolated or lonely.

There are already examples of what can be done to minimise isolation and loneliness - You can see a practical example of how communities have started thinking about what they can do, taking into account their local needs and using their own resources; people and facilities (pre Co-Vid19) and collaborating to strengths their capacities

Everyone can start a Friendly Community in their area, a local group, a group of individual residents that want a more inclusive and friendly community where they have an improved sense of belonging and where instances of anti-social behaviour or loneliness are reduced, celebrating local actions. Local examples such as the Kibworth Autism Friendly help to understand the diverse nature of friendly environments and the importance of collaboration and empathy as elements of healthy and inclusive environments

How to start a Friendly Communities

There is not a single way to start a Friendly Communities initiative, but it is always a good idea to start for what the existing contacts, people and groups are doing, looking at ways to better work together and mutually support each other. You can check how an initiative like 'The Friendly Bench' helps communities to come together and bring different people with different interest together.

Guide to Friendly Communities

This is a guide to Friendly Communities. It will help you to start thinking about what you have in your community, what you can do to bring people together and how to ensure it is effective and the community embraces the various actions you may want to do or participate.

The Guide helps you to think about what it can work, how do you know it makes a difference and how different organisations and groups can contribute, together to help communities to be more resilient, more open and more inclusive.

'How to Start a Friendly Community' is a quick and easy way to help you starting your own Friendly Communities idea and how it can look like. We hope this helps you to make of your community a friendly and inclusive environment.

Examples of Friendly Communities