our story began in a community, far, far away…
Just kidding. It started right here in Perth, ten years ago.
Befriend was founded in 2010 by Nick Maisey and a group of friends who saw how difficult it was to get connected. Nick was studying Occupational Therapy at the time when he was forwarded an email from a guy named Tim.
The email read ‘Hi, my name is Tim, I’m 23 years old, I like going to the beach and watching movies, and I don’t have any friends. I wondered if anyone would be interested in getting to know me?’
Nick and Tim spent some time getting to know one another, and Nick, the ever-curious being that he is, began his journey learning more about human connection.
Recognising that the world around him was increasingly disconnected and that so many of us are vulnerable to feelings of social isolation, Nick initiated what was to become the very first Befriend Social Network event; a community BBQ held in a local park in Subiaco (which, ten years later, is still dubbed as the iconic ‘Subi Sizzle’!)
Ten years on from the first Subi Sizzle, Befriend has grown from a grassroots community group to a thriving social enterprise dedicated to supporting inclusive, connected communities through capacity-building, community development and collaborative projects across Australia.
We’ve had the joy of seeing The Befriend Social Network grow to 200+ community-led social gatherings every month, connecting over 12,000 Perth residents together. We’ve trained over 1000 community inclusion ambassadors to be confident connectors. We’ve seen creative community events come to life and bring people together in ways we couldn’t have imagined. We’ve launched and grown Befriend Consulting, supporting community services and organisations all over Australia to adapt contemporary approaches to relationships and connection, and we’ve spoken at events all over the world. It’s been a wild ride and we’ve learned so much about human connection and community belonging.
This is just the beginning for us and we have bold plans to grow our movement of togetherness in the future… so don’t be a stranger!