Follow our progress on this evolving timeline as we launch Friendship Lab in 2024!
During a personal retreat, Friendship Lab founder Sheridan Voysey asks himself a question: ‘What problem would you attempt to solve if you could?’ Reflecting on years of feedback from his readers, one problem stands out: friendlessness. He begins research to write a book on the topic. (Picture: St Katharine’s Retreat Centre)
Confirmation of this new vocation comes quickly when Sheridan becomes the Creative Lead of BBC Radio 2’s Friendship Season, a week of programming on Europe’s largest broadcaster reaching 13 million listeners. An article he writes for The Times also strikes a cord. (Pictured with Radio 2’s Zoe Ball)
By early 2021 Sheridan has a book on adult friendship outlined, sample chapters written and publishers interested. But something doesn’t feel right. During a second retreat he senses the reason: the problem of friendlessness is too large to be solved by a book alone. Media campaigns, arts collaborations, evidence-based courses and more would be required. A book idea was growing into something larger.
Sheridan embarks on a series of ‘wisdom conversations’, talking to over 50 people in business, media, education, and the faith and charity sectors. Adult friendship is clarified as a key solution to society’s loneliness and mental health epidemics, but few quality resources exist on it. The foundations for Friendship Lab are laid, efforts turn to creating an evidence-based friendship skills course, while Sheridan is increasingly asked to speak on the topic at conferences and in the media (pictured at University of Leicester’s School of Business).
A key moment comes when Dr Amanda Berlan at the University of Leicester receives a grant to study the impact of the Friendship Lab Course on participants. Two 6-session pilot courses are run in April-May 2023 – one online and another in-room in a shopping centre in Oxford, UK – with 80 participants from four countries. The results are even more encouraging than we’d expected.
The Team Formed
Friendship Lab’s board of trustees is formed, and with the help of other brilliant collaborators, our Theory of Change is developed, founding documents are crafted, strategy is set, and this non-profit organisation is officially created. The book idea has become a charity!
Right now we’re preparing the Friendship Lab Course to be available in three formats: as an On Demand self-guided video course, as a Live Online experience, and as a Small Groups curriculum package. If you would like to become a founding financial supporter of this empowering solution to one of our most pressing social needs, please contact us via our Contact page. We would love to talk with you!
Join us as we launch Friendship Lab later this year!
Stay Up to Date
Friendship Lab is an exciting new project to make your friendships thrive. Stay up to date with its progress by joining our newsletter. Your first email will contain two of our most impactful tools, the Three-Level Conversations sheet and the Friendship Audit tool to map your current relationships