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Staying Connected in the Pandemic




Looking back over the past year we certainly could not have imagined where it would have taken us!

We have completely transformed the organisation in so many ways, adapting our services to ensure that everyone had the support they needed. Our team held up amazingly, carrying on through all sorts of challenges to keep our members and volunteers connected.


Our online zoom events and activities have been a highlight, keeping the excitement going throughout the past 10 months of restrictions. In addition to moving our regular activities online, we introduced many new activities and programmes; self-advocacy and discussion groups, magic shows, keep fit and games nights, all kept events running almost every night of the week.

Art club, cake decorating, pizza nights, bingo and zoom parties were accompanied by an exciting activity pack, keeping members connected. General packs were also sent to members of all ages, bursting with exciting, creative activities, ensuring they kept busy and knew that their Friendship Circle friends were thinking of them.



We have continued with our mission to change perceptions towards disability and help integration into the community. We have shared online events with local shuls and groups and continued to spread our message virtually as much as possible.

For many members, The Friendship Circle are their only connection to Jewish life. From delivering ready-made seder plates and Lag B’omer BBQs to Rosh Hashana Kits and a socially distant outdoor Sukkot celebration, we made sure that nothing got in the way of our members safely celebrating Jewish life and traditions.


Shabbat is one of the most special times that we share together at The Friendship Circle. Our regular Shabbat meals and host family programme have been sorely missed this year. We are currently planning our third Shabbat At Home event where fabulous Shabbat packs are sent out, followed by a pre-shabbat sing-along. Our members light the candles we have sent and feel a real connection to their Friendship Circle family who are all taking part together. After Shabbat we all join in a zoom havdala.



This Chanukah was truly special, standing out from all other years as being the most active and engaging Chanukah ever.

Before Chanukah even began, we had a fantastic menorah making competition with some incredible entries and winners. We also designed our very own Chanukah jumpers for the first time which were bought by members, volunteers, and the wider community.

The day before Chanukah, 100 of our members received a stunning Chanukah pack brimming with goodies, gifts, art, decorations, and everything that they would need to make Chanukah fabulous in their own homes. But this was only just the beginning!

Every night we gathered round our screens, menorah and candles at the ready and shared in the candle lighting together. Each night the blessings were led by a different member.

Separated by distance but brought together by our friendship and traditions.

Following on from the candle lighting and singing, each night offered an exciting activity for members and volunteers to take part in. From a game of online dreidel and quiz night, to a singalong and pizza and bingo.



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The beating heart of the Friendship Circle is the buddy system. We have 80 buddies who speak to members multiple times a week, on the phone, on video chat or when restriction allow, they go out for a walk. Our buddies and volunteers have all been working in overdrive since Covid began, to support members in so many practical and emotional ways, going above and beyond to be there for their friends.

Looking back at the challenges that 2020 has thrown at us we are proud to say that not only have we managed to keep our members connected but our engagement levels have gone right up. Existing members, who previously were unable to attend, have become fully-fledged regulars on our zoom events, our membership has increased and more people are accessing our activities than ever before.

We could not have done this without the support of all our members, volunteers, supporters, and friends who have all played such an important role in creating this special and life changing

support network for so many people.


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