We approach everything we do with curiosity. We love to experiment and explore new ideas, working alongside other like-minded people and organisations to carefully craft projects that’ll create meaningful and sustainable impact.
We are lucky enough to have developed some incredible working relationships with partners, peak bodies and local government, all of whom share our vision and support us on our mission of togetherness! Collaboratively, we’ve worked on all kinds of amazing projects over the years, from podcasts and story-telling campaigns, to skill-swaps and app development! We’ve got a rich history of makin’ magic right here in our own backyard and this is just the beginning for us.
We’re riding the wave of 2021, building on a ground-swell of community-led action to spark even greater impact across Australia!
The Open Communities Project; open-sourced community building
Open Communities is a big project with an even bigger dream; to reconnect people in local communities and revitalise the way we work, together.
We know that there are so many groups, programmes, individuals and initiatives around Australia that care about connection and community development as much as we do. Sports and recreation groups, community associations, local government, friends, neighbours… There’s a seemingly endless wave of energy and passion for nurturing human connection at community-level and it feels like we’d be a lot more effective if we worked together to achieve our shared goals.
So, Befriend is on a mission for the next three years; to hold space for a national network of people who live and breathe human connection, both professionally and personally, to go on a development journey together. Applying open source principles, this network of community-building do-ers and thinkers will co-create, share and apply new community-building frameworks and tools, learning from one another to build our collective capacity to make Australia a more inclusive, welcoming place to work and play.
This project is supported by the Department of Social Services.
Empowering Communities: Kwinana, Anketell, Armadale and Gosnells
Collaborative place-based community development projects
Befriend’s team of Community Builders operate in a number of Perth-based suburbs, working alongside local residents, organisations and local government to nurture connectedness across a number of funded programmes. Empowering Communities is a project that shares our vision for inclusive, connected spaces where people feel they belong, are valued and contribute.
With a strong focus on bringing people together to build positive local relationships and social capital, it’s been a project that we’ve had the opportunity to participate in frequently over the years. Currently, Empowering Communities is enabling our grassroots community building work in Kwinana and surrounds, inspiring a network of open-invitation shared social experiences, and Armadale and surrounds, where we work predominantly alongside culturally and linguistically diverse people to discover, and share, their gifts and passions.
Empowering Communities is supported by the WA’s Department of Communities.
MercyCare and Befriend; the Community Exchange project in Merriwa and Swan
Working together to catalyse opportunity in the community
Befriend has been working in partnership with MercyCare for the last two years on the Community Exchange project. With a core focus on strengthening community connections, this collaboration has supported a locally-led movement of contribution and social participation in Merriwa and The City of Swan.
Befriend’s Community Builders, Tom and Lee, have been empowering residents to bravely initiate and host open-invitation social experiences, creating a localised network of connection and contribution. Group Hosts have flourished in their new roles and thrive in being a natural connector and welcoming face in the community, and many of the groups have become self-sufficient, with attendees each contributing unique skills and strengths.
Strengthening the connectedness of older adults; a Chorus and Befriend pilot project
Collaborating to address loneliness in older Australians
Working closely with Chorus’ Out and About team, Befriend is supporting the development of a resident-led, Mandurah-based inclusive social network, with an emphasis on the inclusion of older adults. This is a pilot project with a strong emphasis on learning and testing a broad range of different strategies for activating and mobilising local residents to enhance the connectedness of others.
Employing Asset-Based Community Development principles to engage residents to contribute and share their gifts to others, Befriend’s Community Builder, Charmaine, has supported the growth of a number of locally led social experiences that provide opportunities for older people to get creative, exchange and develop new skills, and make meaningful connections.
Connect in Canning; the Resilient Streets & Neighbourhoods project
Enabling community connection through resident-led action at the street and neighbourhood level
The COVID-19 pandemic shone a light on the value and importance of informal social networks in local neighbourhoods and communities for maintaining community wellbeing. The City of Canning experienced this for themselves, as a groundswell of community-led action unfolded to provide emergency relief, activity engagement and social contact. A team of residents mobilised to become ‘Community Connectors’ and City staff stepped into new roles as Neighbourhood Liaison Officers, providing information, resources, support and connections to help the Community Connectors find ways to contribute and bring their ideas and projects to life.
Befriend and The City of Canning have partnered up to continue supporting this incredible initiative in a post-pandemic context. Community Builder Rachel now works closely with the growing network of Community Connectors, helping them to step into leadership roles, discover their gifts and skills, bring their creative community ideas to life and ultimately, continue strengthening the resilience of their connected community.
A shared vision with Avivo
Supporting people to be powerful and live their life to the fullest
Befriend and Avivo connect over a shared vision, where people live as valued citizens, making their own decisions, developing their abilities and growing in their relationships. With this shared vision in mind, we partner with Avivo to collaborate on two of their foundational dimensions of what ‘a good life’ looks like for the people they support; connection to community, and, love and relationships.
Our work with Avivo has spanned a number of projects that support our shared purpose, from discovery workshops, to 1:1 consulting, internal training and coaching. Always with relationships at the heart of our collaborations, we’ve helped to create a connection-focused mindset amongst Avivo staff, transforming how they think and act within their roles to become powerful enablers and connectors for the individuals they support.
A collaboration with Chorus: A Fresh Approach
Putting ‘community’ back into ‘community service’
Chorus’ Fresh Approach Initiative had a vision to change the way community services engaged and supported their customers to grow their village and develop invaluable social relationships. Through experimentation and learning, Chorus sought to increase their understanding of how they relate to their clients and the communities they work within, consider new approaches and activity programmes, explore novel team and role structures and ultimately, develop a new model for enabling community connectedness.
Befriend stepped in as Thinking Partner for this work, helping to guide one of Chorus’ design teams with their work answering a key question; how might we nurture a sense of purpose and belonging for Chorus customers, staff, and volunteers?
Identitywa; Connections and Community
Strategic workforce development
Identitywa have a strong ambition to support their clients in developing meaningful social relationships and friendships. Our collaborations have spanned many years and projects, including workforce development, strategic consulting, induction design, and training programmes.
Together, we’ve been designing, developing and evolving innovative and contemporary approaches for Identitywa staff to use whilst working with their clients that enable and support connectedness and community contribution. We’ve seen firsthand how effective this work is and with our shared vision of an inclusive and connected society, our work with Identitywa will continue forward long into the future.
United Way WA; Re-Engaging in Community
Supporting people who have previously experienced homelessness to reconnect to community
This volunteer support programme helps people who have previously experienced homelessness to re-engage in their local community and regain confidence through a ‘buddy system’. The Volunteer Buddy is there to support someone to navigate their sense of belonging, encouraging them to reignite old passions, discover new joys, contribute to community and develop meaningful social relationships. At its core, Re-Engaging in Community is a project that is focused on human connection, social engagement and inclusion.
Befriend is involved as the Learning and Development Partner for the work, facilitating learning and development experiences up-front and ongoing as part of the volunteer journey, to nurture their thinking and practice approaches in supporting connection for their Buddy. Through thoughtful facilitation, workshops and coaching, our collaboration with United Way WA has helped build the capacity and confidence of volunteer participants and the effectiveness of the Buddy System out in the community.