There is general information about our COVID-19 service below, but our current detailed guidance can be downloaded here. Welcome We provide a volunteer befriending service for socially isolated children, young people and adults with learning disabilities across the Scottish Borders. We create and support 1:1 friendships and social groups which improve members’ happiness, confidence, self-esteem and social skills and provide short breaks for their carers. We are open to anyone aged over 8 with learning disabilities, including  children and young people with complex needs or autism.  Our service is free apart from small contributions to activity and travel costs. Our volunteers are young & old and drawn from all walks of life, and we are always looking for new befrienders. If you (or someone you care for or know) would like to use the service or volunteer, please use the links above to explore the site, and we look forward to hearing from you. A Message from the Interest Link Board “As we all know 2020 has been a challenging and unusual year for everyone in all aspects of life. The lock down has introduced a number of restrictions to ensure personal safety, however this itself has introduced frustrations and feelings of isolation. The Board of Interest Link Borders would like to acknowledge and thank all the great efforts of our members, carers, volunteers and staff for all their great support and engagement during this turbulent time. We believe that this epitomises what Interest Link Borders stands for. During these uncertain times, the speed with which the service was adapted to meet the changing requirements laid out by the government is to everyone’s credit. Interest Link Borders appreciated the importance of the service that it provides and the benefits that this brings to all, especially in the current climate. The Board acknowledge and applaud all the work that has gone into planning, risk assessing, communicating and rolling out such a variation of these services online and virtually. Obviously we all hope that things return to a near normal environment sooner rather than later. The Board are impressed with the attention to detail that is being taken into account to address the lifting of restrictions and draft route mapping for the reintroduction for the physical gatherings that Interest Link Borders provides across the Scottish Borders. Thank you to everyone from the Board of Interest Link Borders for their great work, patience, understanding and support during this time. Take care and stay safe.” Kenneth Wood, Convenor, Lockdown Lowdown We changed our service from 100% face to face to 100% distance befriending within two weeks of lockdown being imposed.  Our members’ learning disabilities make remote communication difficult, but the friendships and bonds built up over the years have been strong enough to overcome this and our service under lockdown is as vibrant and varied as it has ever been. Social media, streaming and videocalls are very popular but traditional posted newsletters and activities have been just as important, particularly where there is a lack of devices and connections. With other forms of respite not available, distraction activities and fun things for the whole family have been crucial. We are now looking forward to restoring face to face contact while keeping the best of our virtual world. Many of our members are clinically vulnerable and have difficulty with social distancing and mask wearing: this means their journey out of lockdown and their return to school, college, day centre and respite services will be slow, and the caring pressure on families will remain high. As a result our transition is likely to be slow and gradual, maintaining home support while meeting people’s keenness to see each other in the flesh again wherever we can. The first step is introducing 1:1 meetings outdoors, which we have now started to do. As well as our existing 1:1 links we have made 1:1 links between group members and volunteers so the maximum number can benefit. Group meetings outdoors or inside pose more of a challenge, but we hope to start activity from October. See our Evaluation & Resources page and our public facebook and instagram pages for more. If you have any questions, please get in touch with your local Branch Co-ordinator and we look forward to the resumption of normal service as soon as possible. For easy-read infiormation, please see Use our Service. We also have an Easyread Information Sheet about COVID-19
There is general information about our COVID-19 service below, but our current detailed guidance can be downloaded here. Welcome We provide a volunteer befriending service for socially isolated children, young people and adults with learning disabilities across the Scottish Borders. We create and support 1:1 friendships and social groups which improve members’ happiness, confidence, self-esteem and social skills and provide short breaks for their carers. We are open to anyone aged over 8 with learning disabilities, including  children and young people with complex needs or autism.  Our service is free apart from small contributions to activity and travel costs. Our volunteers are young & old and drawn from all walks of life, and we are always looking for new befrienders. If you (or someone you care for or know) would like to use the service or volunteer, please use the links above to explore the site, and we look forward to hearing from you. A Message from the Interest Link Board “As we all know 2020 has been a challenging and unusual year for everyone in all aspects of life. The lock down has introduced a number of restrictions to ensure personal safety, however this itself has introduced frustrations and feelings of isolation. The Board of Interest Link Borders would like to acknowledge and thank all the great efforts of our members, carers, volunteers and staff for all their great support and engagement during this turbulent time. We believe that this epitomises what Interest Link Borders stands for. During these uncertain times, the speed with which the service was adapted to meet the changing requirements laid out by the government is to everyone’s credit. Interest Link Borders appreciated the importance of the service that it provides and the benefits that this brings to all, especially in the current climate. The Board acknowledge and applaud all the work that has gone into planning, risk assessing, communicating and rolling out such a variation of these services online and virtually. Obviously we all hope that things return to a near normal environment sooner rather than later. The Board are impressed with the attention to detail that is being taken into account to address the lifting of restrictions and draft route mapping for the reintroduction for the physical gatherings that Interest Link Borders provides across the Scottish Borders. Thank you to everyone from the Board of Interest Link Borders for their great work, patience, understanding and support during this time. Take care and stay safe.” Kenneth Wood, Convenor, Lockdown Lowdown We changed our service from 100% face to face to 100% distance befriending within two weeks of lockdown being imposed.  Our members’ learning disabilities make remote communication difficult, but the friendships and bonds built up over the years have been strong enough to overcome this and our service under lockdown is as vibrant and varied as it has ever been. Social media, streaming and videocalls are very popular but traditional posted newsletters and activities have been just as important, particularly where there is a lack of devices and connections. With other forms of respite not available, distraction activities and fun things for the whole family have been crucial. We are now looking forward to restoring face to face contact while keeping the best of our virtual world. Many of our members are clinically vulnerable and have difficulty with social distancing and mask wearing: this means their journey out of lockdown and their return to school, college, day centre and respite services will be slow, and the caring pressure on families will remain high. As a result our transition is likely to be slow and gradual, maintaining home support while meeting people’s keenness to see each other in the flesh again wherever we can. The first step is introducing 1:1 meetings outdoors, which we have now started to do. As well as our existing 1:1 links we have made 1:1 links between group members and volunteers so the maximum number can benefit. Group meetings outdoors or inside pose more of a challenge, but we hope to start activity from October. See our Evaluation & Resources page and our public facebook and instagram pages for more. If you have any questions, please get in touch with your local Branch Co-ordinator and we look forward to the resumption of normal service as soon as possible. For easy-read infiormation, please see Use our Service. We also have an Easyread Information Sheet about COVID-19