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Background


Set up as a pilot project by North Berwick Coastal Health and Wellbeing Association in April 2019, NBCCC was registered as a charity in September 2020 and has operated as an organisation in its own right since April 2021. Working with a very small part-time staff team (Project Manager, Carol Stobie and Befriending Coordinator, Lisa Brownlie), most of our services are delivered by a dedicated team of trained volunteers. Our members are referred by a range of organisations and individuals including GPs, other health professionals and community members (including self-referrals). Anyone over 18 in the North Berwick Coastal Ward who is affected by isolation can be referred.

We have received generous funding support from North Berwick Coastal Area Partnership, North Berwick Trust, East Lothian Council and the National Lottery Community Fund.

In our first two years, we’ve helped over 100 socially isolated adults connect into local networks, gatherings, new friendships and purposeful activity.

Although our face-to-face activities had to be put on hold during the first Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020, we quickly responded to this situation by introducing a telephone befriending service which allowed members to have regular calls with a volunteer. Later on, we added one to one Buddy Walks. Eventually, Coffee Connections became possible for small numbers in local cafes. Now we’re finally getting back to those gatherings we’ve all missed, and life is opening up again for many.

weekly meet at seabird

What we offer today


  • Coffee Connections in local cafes – reconnecting to the outside world
  • Scone Café, our relaunched weekly drop-in
  • Befriending (telephone and in-person)
  • Buddy walks – led by trained volunteers, helping you regain your physical wellbeing outdoors
  • Chumming members to local groups and events
  • Community Connections, our monthly newsletter distributed to all of our members, volunteers and partner organisations
  • Links to similar activities in villages across the Coastal Ward

Our future plans


We’ve got exciting plans for the future, including:

  • Compassionate Neighbours – a project supporting individuals and their families facing terminal illness
  • Resuming partnership activities including intergenerational meals, music and crafts
  • Creating peer support groups for those experiencing depression, anxiety and bereavement
  • Supporting new parents and young families to reduce loneliness, isolation and loss of confidence

Our Team


Board of trustees


The Board of Trustees is responsible for the charity’s financial and strategic planning and compliance with regulatory requirements.

Advisory committee


Our Board meets regularly with members of the Advisory Committee who represent a range of other organisations with an interest in the work undertaken by NBCCC to discuss progress and future development plans.

Staff


We are supported by a small, part-time staff team of:

Carol Stobie – Project Manager

Lisa Brownlie – Befriending Coordinator

Lyndsey Gdulewicz – Administration & Communications

Charli Prime – Compassionate Neighbours Coordinator

Ruth Fraser – Newsletter Editor

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Volunteers


We have a team of 45 volunteers, all of whom are PVG-checked and undertake training prior to commencing to work with the project.

Frequently Asked Questions


Why do you do this?

We believe in connecting people together, because we all need to be part of something bigger.

How do I get involved?

You can refer yourself or someone else, volunteer, donate, spark off new ideas and partnerships, spread the word for us. Get in touch to start the conversation.

What is Befriending?

Our befrienders are trained and carefully matched with members to build a trusting, mutually beneficial relationship. They arrange to call or meet with you regularly (usually once a week) and we check in regularly to make sure everyone’s happy.

What is the difference between Coffee Connections and Scone Cafe?

They’re both welcoming, inclusive coffee gatherings led by our wonderful volunteers, and they are both dog-friendly, with a great view of the sea!

The main difference is that Coffee Connections is held in local cafes, primarily the Seabird Centre, so you order your treats at the counter (or we can give you a hand with that) and get used to being out in the town again. Scone Café is just for us, at Abbey Church Hall, and is especially recommended for new members who need to rebuild their social confidence and start to build a regular routine again.

What are Buddy Walks?

These are walks tailored to your needs, with volunteers trained to risk-assess a suitable path that works for your level of mobility and current health. You’ll usually meet once a week and walk only for as long as feels comfortable. We often go for coffee afterwards – yes, that again!

Annual Reports


Our Policies


We have developed a full range of policies and procedures to make sure our members, staff and volunteers can interact safely. If you have any queries or concerns on these, please contact our Safeguarding Officer, Becky Everett, on safeguarding@nbc-communityconnections.org