Belfast Friendship Club (BFC) is a safe, inclusive, and impartial space run by the members for the members, where those attending forge meaningful connections and friendships with others irrespective of their backgrounds. Its sole aim is to welcome newcomers into a space of equity, respect and solidarity rather than charity.
Members meet each week in a cafe in a neutral area of Belfast. The cafe that has become their home hosts between 20-60 people every Thursday night from 20+ nationalities, all ages and all backgrounds. 20-25% of their members are local and contribute to the vibrant intercultural integration in action.
BFC has inspired many spin-off events and activities including ‘Small Worlds Workshops’, which are cafe-style events hosted by members of BFC that are changing hearts and minds across NI (see: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/challenging-other-conversations-can-change-world/), and their Global Kitchen Catering Project where they share their love of food and learn to feast on a budget and an annual, over-night, self-catered holiday where they put it all into practice!
Described by an evaluator a ‘a model of good practice worthy of international replication’ you can find out more about BFC at: http://www.belfastfriendshipclub.org