Challenging stigma and combating social exclusion through befriending

Bill McGowan and Claire Jowitt

in Care, community and citizenship

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2007 | ISBN: 9781861348715
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447301608 | DOI:
Challenging stigma and combating social exclusion through befriending

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In the coastal town of Hastings in the southeast of England, a Befriending Scheme for people with mental health problems was established in 1989. It was a well-respected local service making a difference to the lives of vulnerable individuals with mental health problems, and received the local civic pride award for its work in 1997. However, the service was voluntarily decommissioned in January 2006 as it had failed to attract adequate funding for service delivery and development, and there were concerns regarding its ability to maintain the quality standards for which it was renowned. This chapter takes a critical look at the functions of the Befriending Scheme against a background of severe socioeconomic deprivation. It explores what we have learned about the scheme's potential role in challenging stigma and combating social exclusion within communities.

Keywords: Befriending Scheme; mental health problems; community care; socioeconomic deprivation; social exclusion

Chapter.  6552 words. 

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