Befriending

Our Befriending Service

Various studies have indicated that loneliness have serious health-related consequences including depressive symptoms, cognitive decline, intense feelings of emptiness, abandonment, frequent visit of doctors, and poorer quality of life. Older people are particularly vulnerable to social isolation and loneliness owing to loss of friends and family, mobility, or income. Social isolation and loneliness have a detrimental effect on health and wellbeing. Studies show that being lonely or isolated can impact on blood pressure and is intricately linked to depression.

The range of interventions for alleviating loneliness and social isolation can be grouped into one-to-one interventions, group services and wider community engagement. Those that look most effective include befriending, social group schemes and Community Navigators.

Age Concern developed their Hear for You service in March 2020 to help combat loneliness within the elderly community and have recently put in place a new Befriending Plus Service to ensure that the elderly are supported, not only during this current and most difficult time, but for the future also. We are doing this by offering regular telephone support and home visits. Our aim is to maintain weekly contact with those who are unable to go out and feel vulnerable and alone. We welcome new Volunteers to help us with this service and if you feel you can offer consideration and kindness by way of a regular phone call or home visit then please contact Fran on 01753 497882 or email: befriending@ageconcernsabe.org.uk

How does Befriending Plus differ from the Befriending Service we currently offer?

We are currently only providing extremely limited telephone support. This was started at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis and was provided by existing staff (in addition to their current roles, which is not sustainable going forward).  We are now actively looking for Befriending Volunteers to support this activity. In fact, since COVID-19 our Volunteer numbers have decreased, as most of our existing volunteers were elderly (over 70) and have been shielding or too nervous to commence their voluntary work. The new service would have dedicated staff, whose sole focus would be the Befriending Service and they would be supported by a team of Befriending Volunteers from a diverse demographic and with a wide range of interests and we will also be able to provide the BAME community with more focused support, tailored to their needs.  We are hoping our recently started Befriending Volunteer Recruitment Project will be assisted by a lottery grant. If our application is successful, we also aim to create impact measures which will monitor the effect we are having on people’s lives from an emotional, practical, and physical level and how they have been helped.

Clients will receive individual face-to-face assessments at home to identify their needs from a social perspective and a tailored programme of support agreed. We will also signpost clients to other services as appropriate, for example our Home Help services, Social Care, Transport, Healthcare, Advocacy service or Domestic abuse service. Clients can then be connected with Volunteer Befrienders to provide different levels of support, as required by the individual, whether this is simply a regular telephone call, or calling in on them at home for a chat or practical support such as accompanying them to hospital appointments, helping them with exercise or teaching them to use the internet. It will include ‘buddying’ – putting people in contact with those who have similar interests.

 

Donate / Volunteer

From making a regular financial donation to donating clothes and homeware items or volunteering your time, we are extremely grateful for your support

Please use the "Contact Us" button below to find out more about how you could help the lives of the elderly in your area.