Since the pandemic hit in March 2020, demand for the befriending service at The Bureau in Glossop has increased by 166 per cent.
Providing a vital lifeline befriending provides companionship for isolated people, gives them the chance to develop new relationships, and opportunities to participate in social activities.
Now, The Bureau are looking for more volunteers for the Befriending Service to help reduce the isolation felt by many people.
They want to hear from people who want to get involved for as little as one hour a week for a chat, a brew or a walk, because even that short amount of time can make a huge difference.
Jennifer Godwin, Befriending Coordinator, said: “We are currently supporting approx 40 members of our community with befriending.
“Throughout the pandemic this has been over the telephone, but we are looking forward to getting back to face-to-face meetings where possible, ranging from a chat in the garden to a local walk, a pint in the pub or perhaps something more energetic like a session in the gym.”
Many of the volunteers report that they also enjoy getting to know and finding out more about the person they visit, so everyone benefits!
Volunteers undergo induction training to ensure they are fully equipped for the role and are offered ongoing training to support the role if that is something they would like to do.
If you can spare an hour or more a week and the befriending role appeals to you, contact email@example.com or 01457 865722. Equally, if you know somebody who would benefit from a chat with one of the befrienders, you can get in touch.
Joan* was referred to The Bureau for Community Navigation and befriending support. She was matched with befriender Margaret and they have been in touch for the past few years.
Joan had been generally coping well during the pandemic, with calls weekly from her befriender, and regular visits from her son whenever this was permitted.
In February 2021, Margaret flagged that Joan had reported that she was feeling depressed, and this was very out of character for her as she has always seemed to be coping well.
Joan had recently been having problems with her health, and waiting for the results of some tests was causing her a lot of anxiety. Although Joan was still receiving regular visits from her son, she didn’t feel that she could talk to family about the emotions she was experiencing, and so she felt very alone with this particular problem.
Joan reported that being able to speak to her befriender and the community navigator was enough for her to reduce her anxiety and improve her mood. This resulted in her not feeling the need for any counselling, knowing that she had people to turn to when she didn’t want to worry her close family and friends.
Following a card she received from her befriender for her birthday, Joan stated that her befriending relationship is so lovely and she looks forward to the calls – the words and comments in the card meant a lot to her and she would treasure the card.
Joan also wished to say a special thank you to everyone at The Bureau and stated that we provide a wonderful service.
* This case study has been anonymised