Befriending service welcomes first volunteers

A befriending initiative which supports people with learning disabilities and autism in Chelmsford and Braintree has welcomed its first volunteers.

Bfriends, a project run by disability charity Hamelin Trust and funded by Essex County Council, was launched in October to help people with similar interests widen their social network and engagement, both as volunteers and participants.

The scheme is ideal for those wanting to share or learn a skill, tackle loneliness and isolation, build confidence with independent living, and make new friends.

The charity recently held its inaugural induction session for its first four volunteers who received training and support to equip them with the knowledge and skills they need to successfully support participants in the local community.

Rosanna Henry, Bfriends Project Lead, said it was a fantastic milestone.

She said: “Since launching Bfriends in October we have been busy promoting the scheme and getting people involved. It’s great that we now have our first volunteers on board and ready to provide support to those who need it.

“We are now busy matching volunteers and participants with similar interests so they can start sharing skills and do what they enjoy most.”

The scheme is still looking for people to get involved, either as volunteers, or participants who identify as having a learning disability or autism who need support.

Those either interested in volunteering their time or those who feel they may benefit from support can get in touch with the team now by filling out a short form at

You can also contact Bfriends Project Lead, Rosanna Henry via or 07514 735236.