Friends Altogether in Rother

FAiR is a community charity, set up to support wellbeing by combating loneliness & isolation through inclusive activities, access to community & befriending services, plus volunteering opportunities. Our 'free' monthly social 'Tilling, Tea and Cake' provides an inclusive and welcoming social setting providing 'early intervention advice' by community and VSCE professionals on Health & Wellbeing. This approach also supports resilience against the cost of living crisis and supports members of our community who may be digitally disadvantaged. We are currently fundraising to enhance this monthly gathering with a face-to-face and telephone befriending service.

Friends Altogether in Rother

FAiR is a community charity, set up to support wellbeing and combating loneliness and isolation by providing inclusive activities, access to community & befriending services, plus volunteering opportunities. 

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What we do

After significant consultation before starting our charity, we have developed a long-term plan to help address issues of isolation and loneliness and break down barriers to inclusion and wellbeing in the Rother community.

Our monthly social 'Tilling, Tea and Cake' has been the starting point and is free to all community attendees. This event not only provides an inclusive and welcoming social setting which stimulates engagement, but also facilitates 'early intervention advice' from community and VSCE professionals on a whole range of Health & Wellbeing issues. 

Our community-based approach also supports:

  • Resilience against the cost of living crisis.
  • In-person access to community facilities for community members who may be digitally disadvantaged. 
  • The development of vibrant community hubs at Tilling and other venues within Rye.
  • Tackling loneliness and isolation through community connection - not only through the presence of some wonderful community organisations and representatives at our monthly meet up, but also through socialising events and signposting and information about other activities and events within the community.
  • Promoting safer and inclusive neighbourhoods, to help protect and empower vulnerable members of our community, as the photo below of AgeUK at one of our events shows:

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How we do it

At FAiR, we are community minded and community funded, through grants and donations. As such, we are constantly fundraising to help us deliver and promote our Tilling, Tea and Cake event and to move onto the next part of our long-term plan which is to extend our free community services so that we can offer:

  • Face-to-face and telephone befriending services.
  • Creative and entertaining community outings and activities.
  • Specific health and wellbeing befriending and support groups.
  • Digital drop-ins and digital befriending to support digital inclusion in our communities.

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How we're getting on

Our Tilling, Tea and Cake event has grown since we started in November 2023 and, six months in, we're seeing real success in build vital community bridges between isolated residents and community services in Rother. 

Some examples we've seen so far:

  • Rising numbers of people attending our Tilling, Tea and Cake each month since November 23.
  • Our community organisations are reporting a good level of follow-up and engagement with community members introduced to them at Tilling, Tea and Cake.
  • And on that note, we're also seeing an increasing number of community organisations looking to work with us to promote wellbeing and inclusion, including NHS local Primary Care Network services, Sussex Outreach Support, CAB1066, local Police, Fire and Rescue, Age UK, The Hub on Rye Hill as well as local care and community groups.
  • An increasing following and level of social media interaction, creating a network of engagement between service users who follow us online and the community services who work with us. 
  • At least two success stories where vulnerable, isolated individuals who began coming along to Tilling, Tea and Cake are now volunteering for FAiR and getting involved in other community organisations.

So that's what it's all about, making a difference to wellbeing our community and if you'd like to support us or get involved, we'd truly appreciate it.

Not sure who we are or why you might like to support us?

No problem, although we're fully registered we are quite a new charity so it's understandable that you may not have heard of us yet. Please check out our website and our social media, but in the meantime, here are a couple of recent testimonials:

‘Just every now and again, we have the extraordinary opportunity to engage with people who tirelessly and selflessly make a difference to the lives of others. I have been privileged to be involved with an amazing couple. Chris Pollard and Miriam McGuirk, who are the epitomy of what we aspire to be. Their work to create Friends Altogether in Rother is amazing. We are blessed to have such passionate and imaginative folks in our wonderful Town of Rye. Their vision to create a vehicle to provide a safe and encompassing space really resonates, is appealing and provides an opportunity to engage and flourish. When I first encountered Chris, I thought great idea, but how would it work. Well, colour me impressed, it works. May they continue to achieve all they can and enrich the lives of the residents of Rye and Rother. Much appreciated ‘ Rye and Rother Cllr Cheryl Creaser.

‘Well done, and although I haven't been involved, yet…, it is so very worthwhile, and needed, for so many people in this busy, and sometimes hard, world of ours – thankyou’ MC – Rye and Winchelsea chat.

Thank you for your time - and possibly for your donation too! If you'd like to know more about getting involved with Friends Altogether in Rother, please get in touch!


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