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 2023, 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.
The Possibility Fellowship
The Possibility Fellowship is a 12 week development course open to community connectors, change-makers, leaders, scholars and curious minds who are committed to creating positive change.
Rich in games, theory and creativity, this journey stewards participants through some big topics in an accessible, personal way. With a balanced blend of modern science and traditional wisdom, we explore what it means to be human, oral storytelling, gifts discovery, social entrepreneurship, recent brain research and more… all whilst working closely with each of the Fellows to nurture their budding ideas for social impact.
We are currently inviting Expressions of Interest to join the March – May intake. You can find out more here.
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.
Department of Communities; The Far Northern Suburbs and The City of Swan
Working together to catalyse opportunity in the community
After initially partnering with MercyCare for 3 years, Befriend is now working in partnership with the Department of Communities to further build upon the locally-led movement of contribution and social participation in The Far Northern Suburbs and The City of Swan.
Befriend’s Community Builders, Lee and Terri (Far Northern Suburbs) and Ally and Carmel (City of Swan), 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. Our Community Building Team also collaborate with local residents to host series-based programs and workshops, and support larger-scale gatherings such as Allara’s Christmas Carols on the Green, and The Brabham Diwali Festival.
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.
Nurturing Connected Community in Karawara
Collaborating with HOME Karawara with the goal of building a healthy, connected community
Befriend has been working with the City of South Perth to re-energise, develop and grow “Hope-Opportunity-Mutual-Empowerment (HOME) Karawara”, a community-led action group with a focus on community safety, connectedness and wellbeing through community connection and capacity-building. For the past four years, HOME Karawara has offered a shining example for what could be possible in the local area and in a pandemic recovery environment, there’s further increased community desire for localised mutual aid and neighbourly connection in the area.
The focus of this partnership is oriented towards capacity-building and impact modelling, led by Befriend’s Thinking Partner and Consultant, Lucy. For more information on this work, please email .
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.
Developing Approaches to Co-Valuating Community Building Impacts
Researching, selecting, iterating and testing qualitative outcome measurement methodologies
With support from Lotterywest, Befriend has undertaken a new stream of work that we’ve entitled ‘Co-Valuation’. Analysing the innumerable outcomes for place-based participatory community-building work can be both complex and powerful, enabling us and the people we work alongside to make informed strategic decisions and deepen our collective impact in the community.
This project involves developing diverse approaches to impact and outcome measurement, testing and experimenting them with grassroots community conveners, groups, and partners. In focusing our intentions on this work, we’re building our organisational capacity to measure community building practices in bespoke, unique ways. For more information about our Co-Valuation project, please contact Story Weaver Nicola at .
A collaboration with Perth City Farm and the East Perth Community
Local engagement and capacity building at one of Perth’s most iconic community hubs
Following on from the groundswell of citizen-led action catalysed by WA’s initial ‘lock-down’ period in 2020, the East Perth community identified a growing need for more localised community initiatives and meaningful social activities to increase the connectedness of community members. Perth City Farm recognised that they are well-placed to contribute by building upon their platform as a local events and education hub to create more pathways for community engagement.
Befriend’s Community Building team has been working with Perth City Farm as they extend their community capacity-building activities further into East Perth, supporting local people to engage in community life, develop enriching social relationships, and contribute to a vibrant, buzzing community life. For more information about this collaboration, please contact East Perth’s Community Builder, Rachel, at .
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.
For more information about the Re-Engaging in Community work we’re doing alongside United Way WA, please email Lucy at .