Friendship Call Participant – Barry

Joanne has now been actively supporting on the befriending calls and has a couple of people with who she speaks with regularly, plus other individuals. Barry is one of the people she have been speaking with.

Joanne started speaking with Barry in August, he has become a participant of the Telephone Befriending service due to experiencing loneliness. He has got family but since his wife passed away 5 years, he hasn’t gone out other than food shopping or to see family.

He is very lonely, during conversations Barry told Joanne how he doesn’t have friends, when his wife passed away, he lost himself and attempted suicide and was admitted into hospital for his mental health as he was at risk to himself, he was sectioned and placed on suicide watch. Barry had 1-2-1 support whilst in hospital to ensure he was safe and this whole experience has left him anxious. Barry has a colourful an extensive history, he was a businessman and has a wealth of experience gained from his business and travelling around the world for business. His family business of fruit, veg and flowers remains operational in Rotherham, now managed by his daughter Barry wears his heart on his sleeve and is happy for me to share some of his story. Barry came to the coffee morning, this was a big deal for Barry he had not been out in any social setting for 5 years, he was very nervous an anxious on the day, he was shaking, bless him. When he arrived, I made sure he was ok, he arrived early, and we were still setting up. He was happy to wait outside to have a cigarette and try to calm himself down. He got chatting with another guy who also was a first-time attendee. When Barry came into the room he was still shaking, I got him a cup of tea and he eventually began to feel a bit more comfortable, I reassured him he was a in safe space. Barry really enjoyed getting ready, he is a very proud man and likes to look the part, which he did. I think that in itself was a huge step for Barry and will support his journey to feeling better and more positive about the future. Barry would like to meet a companion to share his time with and make new memories, whilst he continues to grieve his wife.

Barry is very engaging and was chatting with everyone, he was smiling and laughing. Barry said

‘It was the first time he had smiled in a while, he felt very safe and was so pleased he came to the coffee morning. He felt it had given him something to look forward to and life was good’. He also said he felt more confident at the end to start going out more.

When Barry arrived home, he left Joanne a message to say thank you and that he was thrilled he came, he felt he had been given life back, it was a very emotional morning to be a part of this positive step forward for Barry was immense. Barry is really looking forward to coming to the next one in September which is a massive step for him.

The Summer themed coffee morning was a great success

This was Joanne’s first coffee morning to organise for Rotherfed, just 5 weeks into the role. With a great team effort, she pulled it off! The event was well shared and was great that KC café and Mowbray Gardens Community library were happy to pop posters up and are happy to share any future events with posters being dropped off and/or emailed through to them.

Having received great feedback from those who attended including befriending recipients, people from different communities and professional colleagues who came along to find out more about what we are offering, share what they are doing and chat to all those who came alone. We had 38 people attend which was fantastic, Nic had to run out and get some more milk and cakes – which was brilliant.

The kids loved the activities, the shells and fossils went down well, it was nice they took some home with them.

Continue reading “The Summer themed coffee morning was a great success”

New Volunteer at Friends of Dalton, East Herringthorpe and Thrybergh Green Spaces

Friends of Dalton, East Herringthorpe and Thrybergh Green Spaces are always on the look out for new volunteers and for people to attend the coffee morning that the group support.

Pam has attended the coffee morning with a view to engaging with the litter picks. She told us that it was something she was interested in as she likes to take pride in the area. The group at Warreners Drive quickly made Pam feel at home and she was laughing and joking with the group as though she had been attending for months.

Pam has now attended the Keep fit session that the coffee morning group engages and has joined in with a litter picking session. She told other volunteers that “it was just what she needed”, that she will now be attending the coffee morning on a regular basis and wants to visit the Re-Wilding project to see how she can help out there.

To know that a group that we support can have such a positive impact on just one individual really justifies all of our hard work.

Making Our Money Go Further

Martin first encountered a person at a foodbank who was having difficulty with money issues and referred them into Citizens Advice. The referral was closed because Citizens Advice, despite three attempts, could not contact them. A few weeks later I saw the person, with their partner, at a social supermarket. They still had money issues but were mistrustful of ‘official’ organisations and feared they would lose their existing benefits.

I emphasised that Citizens Advice were an independent organisation with no connection to the DWP. I also stressed that any advice they gave would include an assessment of the effects of different benefits upon each other and the choice to apply for other benefits was entirely up to the clients. They agreed to another referral to Citizens Advice.

I heard the other day that they are absolutely delighted at the outcome of the referral. They are eligible for three extra benefits which do not affect their existing benefits.

It illustrates how trust building, awareness raising, and patience can have a dramatic positive effect on people’s lives.

Swinton Community Focus Group

I have been working with this group now since November 2020 when I took over supporting the North of the Borough.  This is a really pro-active group who have been running now for nearly 5 years and have 10 active members, they also have volunteers who help at events, with the planting of flowers around the village etc.  

On Thursday 18 August, the group held a ‘Out of Covid’ event at the Civic Hall. This event was funded through the COMF funding from RMBC. The event was held from 12pm until 3pm and over 50 local residents, including residents from local care homes, enjoyed a pie and pea lunch supplied by the Honey Pot Cafe, a few games of bingo, some fantastic singing from Chantelle and Chloe and Sarah played the violin for them. It was a lovely afternoon, and it was so nice to see people enjoying themselves singing and dancing, the residents said how much they had enjoyed it. John Healey MP attended the event and joined in with the signing. The group are holding another similar event on Thursday 1 September to make use of the remainder of their COMF funding which need to be spend by 31 August. I will also support at this event.

As well as holding monthly meetings, many different events, the group also holds regular litter picks around the village, at their latest litter pick this week, there were 12 volunteers and they collected 17 bags of rubbish. The group had a stall at the Swinton ‘Party in the Park’ on Sunday 29 August to raise some funds for the group. They are great group who I enjoy working with. 

Ferham Festival

Heart of The Community attended the Annual event Ferham Festival 2022 on 11th August this month. The festival always draws in a big diverse crowd from the residents and this year was no exception. A welcomed change was this year the festival was also supporting South Asian culture as to support the south Asian heritage month. 

The Roadshow kicked off by setting up the stall ready for engaging with the community on a beautiful sunny day. The day started off slow but 30 minutes in and the festival was in full swing. It was an amazing day filled with cultural activities, colour, and good food.

Continue reading “Ferham Festival”


By Dan Barron & Sam Dixon, Project Workers

Dayle Hill is the lead of the newly formed Canklow based group The Community Tree. In only our second meeting she came to us with the idea of creating a community picnic, a “world picnic”, where residents come together to share food that is important to them. The idea is that no matter who you are we all have a connection to food. Dayle wanted to work with this idea to help people recognize that we are all connected. We talked about how people could bring food that they could have a cultural connection to, their favourite dish, or even their signature dish, the one that must be at every family get together.

During further discussions Dayle said she would like the picnic to be the start of a whole week of events to improve and bring together the whole community in Canklow. Her aims were to Celebrate the diversity of the area, support families and help people to feel safer. The idea of having a community clean-up day and an event to round things off were also brought up. May quickly arrived and Dayle had formed a plan of exactly what she wanted to see from the week.  Monday to open the week with the World Picnic. Dayle also had the idea to create Acts of Kindness bingo cards for residents and young people. Those wanting to be involved would fill out the card over the week and return at the final event to be entered into a prize draw.

Wednesday was to be a crafting day working with local social enterprise Casting Innovations. Residents could create their own heart out of Fimo that would then be cast into aluminium and then added to a giant heart, that will be displayed in Canklow. Residents also can work with Castings to make the heart themselves.

The community clean-up day was going to be on Thursday. This is planned to be a Litter Pick by the Friends of Canklow Open Spaces, a group that is part of the community tree, and a community skip that will be provided by RMBC housing.

Finally, the week would be rounded off with a community sports day. Delivered by partner organization Rotherham United Community Sports Trust, they will be delivering football-based activities as well as health and fitness advise in a fun event for everyone to get involved with.

During the planning for the event the local school were also engaged with. They not only promoted the event within their school but also had the young people create flags for bunting that will be displayed for the whole week of the events. The hope is then the young people will feel some ownership towards the event and encourage their family to attend.

The week came, AND WHAT A WEEK IT WAS!!! Every event had engagement from different aspects of the community. From a community that is known locally to struggle with anti-social behavior and has little engagement with services, everyone involved commented on how well they felt it went. The picnic was a mix of curry, sandwiches, pasta and sunshine, everyone who attended got the opportunity to sit, relax and engage with other residents.

On Wednesday we saw a dozen people drop into Casting Innovations to create the FIMO hearts.

On Thursday a skip was delivered for the community to be able to get rid of their excess waste thanks to funding from the local housing authority. Alongside that Friends of Canklow Open Spaces went out on a litter pick around with other volunteers from the area, more than 10 bags were collected, and several piles of fly-tipping were also removed.

A typical wet summer Sunday was the day for the Sports day. Despite the weather, plenty of people came down to the event. With an inflatable penalty shoot-out, small football pitches set up and skipping ropes, families had the chance turn burn off energy whilst being out in the open spaces the area has to offer.

Over the week we all took the opportunity to build up new relationships with residents and reconnect with those who are already aware of what we are trying to achieve for the community. Planning will be starting soon for next year, and no doubt Dayle already has in mind what she wants to achieve and will work hard to make it bigger and better.

Volunteering in the Community

By Nicola Evans, Volunteers Coordinator

One of the wonderful things about working at RotherFed is that it has ignited my passion for personal volunteering, I like nothing more than getting involved where I can. July saw a fantastic opportunity presented to me with the Women’s Euros. Four matches were to be hosted by the New York Stadium, home of Rotherham United. I saw an advert and volunteered my time, not truly sure of what I was letting myself in for.

After lots of training, the first match day came and I found myself in one of the amazing fan zones being hosted by RMBC, this continued through the four days of the tournament. It was truly wonderful, over 40 volunteers coming together to help highlight the best of Rotherham and oh, did we know how to put on a party! One shift was done in the heatwave, temperatures reaching 36 degrees, which was very hot. We were well looked after, and we ensured the Rotherham public was too.

By the end of match day four and over 40 hours of volunteering we all retired tired but happy to have been part of this momentous occasion for Rotherham. One memory that will stick with me is meeting a lovely Rotherham resident, who pops into town just for some company as he was lonely. I had a lovely conversation with him, and we chatted about all sorts, he kept popping back throughout the day to say hello and let me know what a lovely day it was.

Moving Rotherham

Sally has been walking with the S62 group from Greasbrough Dam since the start, a popular member of the group who has a fascinating knowledge of nature (especially trees) she really opens up your eyes to things you do not usually take notice of. Recently she disclosed that she might not be able to continue with the walks as her trainers which were 5 years old were causing her issues. She could not really afford a new pair due to her hours being reduced due to covid and due to the rising cost of transport to get her to events.
To remove this barrier and to enable her to continue we have provided a new pair of walking trainers for her to use with the caveat that if she continues to attend the trainers will be hers. Sally was overwhelmed as she really did not want to stop walking as it had an impact on her mental and physical health, this has removed a barrier and will enable her to continue.