Friendly Communities of Leicestershire

Friendly Communities of Leicestershire is an initiative led by communities to achieve greater inclusion of all their residents, aiming to create cohesive, resilient and friendly environments where people can participate 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 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 community events or to encourage engagement of wider parts of the community on initiatives such as the Dementia Friendly Action, Autism Friendly environments, the Friendly Bench or cooking lessons for young parents or older residents. The aim is to include everyone, from people that may feel lonely or isolated, with learning or physical disabilities or just simply someone new in his/her community.

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.

How can you start a Friendly Community, who should be involved or what has been done so far?

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.

The tree below can give you some ideas how to start a Friendly Community, picked from other people's experiences. This is based on an existing method of work that is focusing on what communities have, rather than on what is lacking.

Asset based approach; skills and expertise