Have you ever seen so much potential love in our newspapers as you do today, and featuring on our late night radio programmes?  Open any paper and you’ll see hundreds of ads for people looking for relationships.  So what’s different about a new national service called ‘Friendsfirst’  who are putting the ‘fun’ into friendship and that is attracting people of all ages who say they would never have joined or used such a service before?

 friendsfirst was launched in January 2000 to help single Christians find out about other single Christians in their local area. Initially drawing members from the West Midlands, friendsfirst is now attracting members from all over the country including people from Manchester.  The simple service is based on member’s profiles being regularly sent to other members of the opposite sex who can then contact each other by telephone or by using a friendsfirst box number system.  It’s an informal and pressure-free service that is easy, popular and effective. There’s no limit to the number of new friends that can be made.

One of the members recently commented “This service is long overdue – it’s what I’ve been waiting for.  It’s ideal for me because it offers a completely non-threatening way to meet new people and it’s restored my faith in meeting like minded people locally”.

Ministers and across the denominations have supported the initiative, welcoming a service which offers something practical for the single people in their congregations whether they are looking for companionship or a relationship. Elaine Storkey, theologian and sociologist commented “This is exactly the sort of practical help that will help Christians meet and build friendships that will be enriching and may lead to marriage.”

friendsfirst can be contacted on 0121 427 1286 or through Box Number 8377, Birmingham, B17 9TE.

Note to Editors:

Background: Katharine Gray established friendsfirst in October 1999 to meet the needs of many single Christians across the country who may feel isolated from other single Christians. There is a growing number of single Christians in the UK, who are remaining single for longer because of work commitments and/or social lives/structures which are not conducive to meeting sufficient Christians of the opposite sex outside of their immediate contemporaries in their own churches.

Name:  friendsfirst.   The service is called friendsfirst because the philosophy behind it is that friendships are vitally important and are at the heart of any good and meaningful relationship. Friendship should ideally be the foundation for anything else that may develop after a period of time.

Membership: friendsfirst has attracted men and women of all ages. Although there are a lot of members in their 20’s and 30’s, the service has appealed to many people in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.  The youngest member is 20 and the oldest member is 85.

Cost: Membership costs £95 for a year’s membership.

Security/Confidentiality: For members security and reassurance, all applicant members are asked to provide some form of identification that validates that they are who they say they are. Box numbers for correspondence between members are provided in the profiles for security reasons. However members are able to provide other members with their telephone number, so that they can be contacted directly if they so wish. Since some members may be well known in their local area there is the option to be referred to in the profiles by a nickname. friendsfirst holds members details on computer and is registered with the Data Protection Register.

November 2000

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“All your advice is helpful. Your contact is good and its very worthwhile doing.”

(Theresa, Local govt Officer)

“I’m so pleased I took the initiative to join friendsfirst.”

(Tracey, Solicitor)

“I found being able to talk to you personalises the service – the contact with your staff has been friendly and supportive and has given me confidence.”

(Angela, University Lecturer)

“Thank you for this information. It is good to know that as an organisation you are concerned for the well being of members and will take any steps you feel […]

(Margaret, Social work manager)

How to be the One

Serious about relationships - then this book is for you!How to be the one book