The Bureau in Glossop is urgently appealing for more volunteers to support its befriending service.
Befriending matches a volunteer befriender with a friend for regular social contact, with visits or calls every week or fortnight.
It provides companionship for isolated people, gives them the chance to develop new relationships, and opportunities to participate in social activities.
We spoke recently with The Bureau's Befriending Coordinator Jennifer Godwin, who told us: "As little as one hour a week for a chat, a brew or a walk can be all it takes to reduce the isolation felt by many in society.
"Many of the volunteers report that they also enjoy getting to know and finding out more about the person they visit.
"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.
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