Buchanan Galleries partners with Glasgow Social Enterprise to help combat loneliness this Christmas

Kathy Murdoch (Buchanan Galleries Centre Manager) with Shonagh Hendry

BUCHANAN Galleries has partnered with No.1 Befriending Agency, a Glasgow-based social enterprise, to help combat loneliness this Christmas.

To offer a heartwarming solution to combat loneliness during the festive period, a ‘Listening Bench’ has been installed within the shopping centre, providing a space for connection and solace during a time when many feel isolated. 

Situated on the first floor of Buchanan Galleries, under the holly tree near Boots, the ‘Listening Bench’ serves as an inclusive space where individuals can come together and strike up a conversation to help tackle loneliness, and will be in situ until early January 2024. 

No.1 Befriending Agency is an award-winning social enterprise set up in Glasgow in 2016 with the aim of reducing loneliness in older people through free befriending services. These services involve trained volunteers engaging with socially isolated members of the community and spending quality time with them to hear their stories, along with providing regular activities, outings and social events, creating opportunities for people to connect with the wider community.

The ‘Listening Bench’ is part of the centre’s ongoing commitment to support the local community, empower local initiatives and foster positive change in the area. In the lead up to the festive season Buchanan Galleries has provided financial support and resources to five local charities and organisations who address pressing social issues, promote community development and improve the lives of residents in Glasgow. 

The charities set to benefit from Buchanan Galleries include; The No.1 Befriending Agency, Bluevale Community Club, Glasgow Tandem Club, Greater Govanhill CIC and SambaYaBamba. Each charity serves a unique and vital role within the local community.

The initiative is funded by Buchanan Galleries’ owner, Landsec, via its social impact programme, Landsec Futures, a £20m fund which aims to bring more value to the communities where Landsec invests. 

Kathy Murdoch, Buchanan Galleries Centre Manager, said: “Christmas is a time for giving, and we are thrilled to continue our tradition of supporting local Glasgow charities. This year, we’ve been able to extend our support to not just one, but five local charities, enabling them to continue their invaluable support and contributions to those who need it the most within the city.  

“Christmas can be one of the loneliest times of the year, and we’re proud to be working with No.1 Befriending Agency to help alleviate this. The ‘Listening Bench’, now situated within the centre, is available for those who need a wee chat – and we hope it helps people get conversations flowing and make the festive season a little bit brighter for those who feel lonely at this time of year.”

Shonagh Hendry at No.1 Befriending Agency said: “We’re thrilled to receive this donation from Landsec and Buchanan Galleries. We believe in the magic of companionship and communication and the funding received will ensure we can continue to support those in Glasgow over the festive season and into 2024. By simply receiving a friendly call or the touch of a caring hand, we can create a positive change for those who are experiencing loneliness. In the world of befriending, small acts of support can lead to life-changing outcomes.”

Bluevale Community Club aims to enhance community unity by hosting sports and recreational programmes including football, boxing and drama clubs. Following the recent closure of the Reidvale Community Centre in the East Glasgow, the charity plans to utilise the funding received from Buchanan Galleries to establish new fitness and social activities within the community centre, including a Youth Club, while offering free meals during these events. 

Founded by Anne Fraser, a vision impaired cyclist, Glasgow Tandem Club unites visually impaired and sighted cyclists during social rides. The support received from the Community Grants Scheme will go towards ensuring the bikes used by its members are maintained, to guarantee their safety on rides and continue to help them achieve their cycling goals. 

Greater Govanhill CIC is a not-for-profit community-led media initiative, serving one of Scotland’s most diverse and socially disadvantaged neighbourhoods. The organisation aims to empower the local community, enabling them to share their own stories through solutions-focused journalism within their free magazine and radio programme. The donation from the centre will support the day-to-day operational expenses, as well as resources for training and workshops to continue to support those from under-represented and marginalised backgrounds and equip them with lifelong skills.

SambaYaBamba’s mission is to spread the love of Brazilian street music by providing access, performance and progression opportunities to all, with the aim of bringing the joyous carnival-style drums and brass to both participants and audiences in Glasgow. The contribution from the Landsec Futures programme will support rehearsals in Glasgow City Centre for the organisation’s 30-piece drumming and brass section, as well as their vibrant Youth Band, and help facilitate adult classes and taster sessions for all interested individuals in the local area. 

Four funding rounds are available each year as part of the Landsec Futures Community Grants Programme which go towards those that make an impact in the local area and empower the local community to make future-forward decisions.

Applications are now open for the next quarter and charities in Glasgow are invited to apply for funding ahead of the deadline on 20th November 2023 via Landsec’s websitehttps://landsec.com/futures.  

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