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  • Lyndsey

Dear Supporters, Partners and Friends - we have a sad announcement to make

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the closure of The Friendly Bench CIC, effective June 2024. As we know, times are tough for not-for-profit organisations, and despite our best efforts, we find ourselves unable to secure the necessary funds for us to continue our operations.



Established in 2019, The Friendly Bench CIC has built a Network of 15 independently operated TFB across England, each serving as a welcoming space for community members to meet and connect with one another.

 

Throughout our journey, we have achieved significant milestones, including building 150 new connections with organisations, groups, and key individuals, as well as strengthening existing relationships across our sites. These connections span a wide range, including local businesses, councillors, funders, police, faith communities, libraries, healthcare providers, and other voluntary sector groups.

 

This is in addition to the numerous individuals who have expressed that The Friendly Bench has positively impacted their physical and mental well-being, providing a safe, neutral and calm space which has helped them connect and have conversations, helping to combat loneliness. The Friendly Bench has also helped encourage community engagement, being regarded as a catalyst for social activity and interaction among community members. This has been through its presence in communities or through involvement or attendance at activities and events at TFB or though volunteering

 

Our efforts have not gone unnoticed, with accolades such as the RHS Gold Award for 'Best Garden for Special Needs' and an RHS 'Achievement' award for 'Cultivating Your Community' for our TFB Brandon. Additionally, our TFB Rugby was featured on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, highlighting the impact of our work.

 

These achievements, along with numerous individual and group awards received by our Network Members, speak to the dedication and commitment of our team.


Brandon in Bloom and singers at The Friendly Bench

While we are very disappointed that we cannot continue growing The Friendly Bench Network, we take immense pride in the accomplishments we have achieved together. Although our central organisation will cease to operate, each of our Network members runs their own The Friendly Bench, and we have full confidence that they will continue to serve their local communities and create positive impact.


As we prepare to close, we extend our heartfelt thanks to each of our Network members, advisors, business partners, supporters, and everyone who has contributed to our journey. Your support has been invaluable, and we are grateful for the opportunity to work alongside you.



While The Friendly Bench CIC may be closing its doors, we know that the spirit of community and connection will live on through the efforts of our Network members. Together, we have made and will continue to make a difference in addressing loneliness and social isolation in communities across England.

 

Thank you for your unwavering support.

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