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Friendship Schemes in Hertfordshire

Friendship Schemes in Hertfordshire

Guideposts Friendship Schemes support adults with learning disabilities to meet new people and develop meaningful relationships through a combination of one to one befriending, social group sessions and group outings.

Current Status: Groups that meet in person are temporarily suspended. Our staff and volunteers are staying in contact and supporting people with one-to-one phone calls, sending letters and activity packs, and meeting for outside walks or coffees when possible.

How the Friendship Scheme works

The Guideposts Friendship Scheme has a wide range of services supporting adults with learning disabilities, including one-to-one befriending, regular social groups, art and exercise clubs, and occasional outings and events. The scheme currently operates in St Albans, Harpenden, Stevenage and North Hertfordshire.

Hertfordshire friendship schemes are supported by the Hertfordshire County Council Carers Breaks Fund

What activities are on offer?

One to One Befriending

The Friendship Scheme co-ordinators arrange for volunteers to form a friendship with an adult who has a learning disability.  With the support of our co-ordinators, volunteer befrienders share their leisure time with their friend and support them to get out and about, use local leisure and social facilities and have a fuller social life.  The activities they might do together include:   playing pool or darts in the pub, going to the theatre, shopping or lunch in town, going to the cinema, country walks and much more.

Friendship Clubs

  • Monthly Friendship Clubs – The Friendship Clubs meet monthly for varied group activities which enable you to meet and make new friends.  Regular activities include going for meals, going to the theatre, going bowling, and playing pool, and we always welcome suggestions from the club members too. 
    We have clubs based in Stevenage (Tuesdays), North Herts (Thursday afternoons), and St Albans & Harpenden (Tuesday evenings).
  • Drop In – Our drop-in club for adults with a learning disability is a place to meet and make new friends.  Come along to have fun playing pool, table tennis and table games, or just enjoy a cup of coffee or tea in a friendly space. 
    Meets weekly in Stevenage on Wednesdays, 10am – 1pm. 

Activity Groups

  • Art Group – A chance for adults with learning disabilities to meet others and enjoy arts and crafts in a relaxed yet exciting and hands on creative group.  Activities include working with colour, art from around the world (for example aboriginal paintings), puppet making, card making and mosaic work. 
    Meets on Fridays 10am – 12.30pm in Harpenden.
  • Fit for Fun – A gentle and fun exercise and movement session combined with a healthy eating session. 
    Meets in St Albans every two weeks on Tuesdays, 6pm – 8pm.

Outings and Events  

The Friendship Schemes organise several outings throughout the year, which are highlights for all involved in the programme.  Destinations and events have included Southend, Birdworld, Woburn Safari Park, Christmas shopping at Bluewater, evening Canal trips, and summer and Christmas discos.

Who can we support?

We support any adults who have a learning disability who want to develop their confidence and social skills. Our staff are trained to work with a range of additional needs, including sight, hearing and mobility problems.

Why should I join? 

Becoming more active and making friendships can help you to gain confidence and a greater sense of fulfilment in life. We also have a lot of fun and give our carers a break!

Key Info

Stevenage North Herts Coordinator: Carol Le Grand

Contact number: 07984 539343 / 01438 225560

Email: clegrand@guideposts.org.uk

St Albans Harpenden Coordinator: Jane Reidy

Contact number: 07850 773145

Email: jreidy@guideposts.org.uk

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“I come here to meet new people. But I’d rather come for longer. Tim and Stephen are friends I wouldn’t have made without the friendship scheme. If there was no drop in where would these people go?”

Stephanie, regular drop-in club member

How to join?

You can either apply for yourself or refer someone else to our service. We receive referrals from Herts Adult Care Services.

The coordinators will get back in touch to arrange a time to meet or talk on the phone to give you more information about the scheme, when you can also ask any questions you have.

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