Friendship House is a place of hospitality and welcome where students, staff and people living with intellectual disabilities can come together in a spirit of friendship. Through a variety of activities, Friendship House fosters inclusion and meaningful relationships.
The idea of Friendship House is inspired by the work of the L’Arche communities. Within these communities people with and without disabilities live together not as carer and cared for, but as people who welcome one another in the Spirit of the Beatitudes and the friendships of Jesus.
The invitation was to live together as friends, in the spirit of the beatitudes and the friendships of Jesus. The relationship was not carer and cared for, but friendship.
Friendship House works with a similar dynamic with the intention of creating a meaningful community of friendship within the university.
Friendship House seeks to explore ways in which people with disabilities and those without can together develop a genuine place of hospitality and welcome. The aim is to create an intentional community in the university within which people with a broad range of learning and developmental disabilities can find creative ways of meeting together with students, staff and any other interested parties from outside or inside the university.
The goals of the project are to:
- Create a sincere and appropriate (non-residential) space within the University of Aberdeen for the creation of an intentional community that will bring together students, staff and people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
- Invest in this group through learning, development and friendship.
- Help this group develop a long term, year round, inclusive and valued relationship with the University, and become a visible, integral and active part of the University community.
- Support the group in taking steps towards self-sufficiency and self-affirmation through participation in the teaching and the learning delivered by the university.
- Champion the University’s policies of inclusion, acceptance and innovation.
The community gathers twice per month, for a time of fellowship, music, art and also for a communal meal. Over time other activities will be developed such as art classes, a community choir, worship evenings, storytelling and other interesting ways of being together.