Our Charity of the Year: Engage Befriending

Each year we like to choose a Charity of the Year to raise their profile, support their cause and raise vital funds.

This year the 3JFitness team invited you, our fabulous 3JFitness membership, to nominate a charity. We had four very deserving causes and it was a tough choice. However, we have chosen Engage Befriending.

In the words of the nominee:

“They are a small Reading charity who connect lonely, isolated older people to their community through volunteer befriending visits.  They do an enormous amount of really valuable work on very limited funding and fundraising. Even though social isolation is in the news and the benefits of such projects are well documented the funding for them is very minimal.  Every donation makes a difference. I personally know the work of this project and the difference the small staff team and dedicated volunteers make to many older people. With more resources, more volunteers could be trained and supported to visit more older people across Reading.”

This charity also aligns with our own ethos. We feel very strongly that our membership isn’t just about outdoor fitness. It is also a supporting, caring sharing community. Our groups are attended by people who not only love walking and exercising outdoors but also have a lot of other reasons for getting out.

They enjoy the company, the chat, the warmth of the new friendships, the sociable nature of our activity. Some of our members work from home, live their own, have lost a partner, for example, and they come out to escape that isolation.

Engage Befriending connect isolated, older people with their local community through visits from a volunteer Befriender. Our membership thrive on helping others and it would be wonderful if you could also consider becoming a volunteer to support their work. You can read more here.

…around 10% of all over 65s are lonely, and consequently, there are over 2000 lonely pensioners in Reading.

Through the year will hold our “Open Boot Cafe”, where we provide warm refreshments from our cars and possibly cakes. We shall ask for donations that will be part of our fundraising effort. We are also planning a few fun challenges and would invite sponsorships. We would also love you to contribute ideas. Maybe you could enter a marathon, take part in a walk or silence, or some other sponsored event? Perhaps you could organise a coffee morning, quiz night or other form of fundraising?

We shall also be coordinating a program with Engage Befriending to offer a few fun Nordic walking sessions with the Activator Poles and Nordic Tai Chi.