WITH so many Australians feeling disconnected from their communities, Befriend is pushing against the grain.
Survey results released last year from Lifeline Australia showed more than 80 per cent of Australians believe our society is becoming a lonelier place.
That’s where Befriend steps in.
Befriend founder and chief executive Nick Maisey said the group started in 2010, after conversations about the things getting in the way of people living a connected life.
“A group of us came together and reflected on our experiences meeting people from different backgrounds, many of whom felt like they weren’t living their fullest life,” he said.
“For so many people, it’s because they felt they didn’t have the people to live life with.”
Befriend, based out of the Bloom Lab in Crawley, sparks human connection with events in communities across Perth, bringing together staff, volunteers and team members from all walks of life.
About 50 people per month host gatherings, and 6000 people are signed up to the mailing list.
Member Sam Piggott joined up in March 2011, and met Mr Maisey at a barbecue in Subiaco.
“I have a good social life when I go to Befriend events,” Mr Piggott said.
“It gets me out of the house and gives me something different to do.
“Befriend don’t discriminate against anyone, regardless of race, gender, religion, disability, anything like that.”
Mr Maisey said he’ll see some members every week, others once a year, but everyone is welcome.
“One of the biggest things for me has been learning that connection can be really tough at different times in your life for different reasons,” he said.
“It’s important to have that welcoming space there when you need it.”
He said people often join after a big transition in their life, like leaving school, becoming a parent, changing careers, or entering retirement.
Both Mr Maisey and Mr Piggott will be attending the upcoming Befriend Ball, a night of fun, dancing, food, drinks, and music from local favourites Soukouss Internationale.
Mr Piggott will take to the stage to give a speech about his Befriend experience.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” he said.
“I’m going to get up and go with the flow. I’m going to talk about my life as a member with Befriend, and what my life was like before I became a member… but of course, we have a maximum time to speak.”
The Befriend Ball takes place on Saturday, November 25, at the Pan Pacific Hotel.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit befriend.org.au.