1st - 7th November marks 11 years of Befriending Week. This year, our theme is: Befriending is Support. For us, this reflects the support befrienders give to befriendees, the support provided by befriending organisations to befrienders, and the support our network creates for the sector.
For our befriending week we invited both befriending volunteers and clients to enjoy an afternoon of escape room style fun!
We would like to take this time to share with you all a case study from one of our befriending users as we feel it shows just how our befriending service impacts the ladies of Sefton that access it.
Volunteer Case study October 2023
‘A’ joined us in 2019 as supported woman. She was experiencing loneliness and isolation due to bereavement. ‘A’ is visually impaired and has a guide dog. As a supported woman, ‘A’ enjoyed going to the gym and getting out into the world. It was really important for her to have routine and connect with others after becoming isolated.
‘A’ was receiving support from the befriending service for around 2 years due to COVID and built a great relationship with her befriender. They did activities together such as going to the gym, walking their pets and getting a coffee.
In July 2022, 1 year post ending, ‘A’ decided to come back and volunteer on the befriending project. ‘A’ said;
“My aim for befriending was to get myself back to the gym. I couldn’t go near the place at first as my partner and I went there regularly together. It was just too heartbreaking. After about six months, I took the decision to actually start to try to get back in the gym, first time I went in there I just cried after about four visits. I eventually got on the treadmill for the first time and felt the feeling of euphoria that you get when the endorphins kicking. Unfortunately, not long after that COVID kicked in, and we would spoke regularly over the phone.
I had felt so supported by engaging with the befriending project in 2019, that when my relationship ended, I expressed an interest in becoming a Befriender myself. The one-to-one relationship helped me to gain in confidence, it also gave me a routine as for at least one day a week I was able to do something without the support of my friends or family. I have been matched as a volunteer with a wonderful woman for two months now, we are getting on really well, and I find it really humbling that a stranger has let me into her life, and is sharing some of her most difficult experiences with me. It is such a privilege!”
After her induction and various training, ‘A’ has now been matched with a woman for 2 months at the time of writing. The supported woman says;
“I have achieved many things already with ‘A’, from coffee, to walking, all of which are getting me out the house, something I struggle with. ‘A’ has made this possible by taking a no pressure approach and restoring my trust in people. This is important to me and my mum for my mental health. For me, it is the talking and trust that I have built with ‘A’ that has made it a good match. Our relationship is fantastic and I feel safe and secure a ‘A’ is so easy to talk to.”
We couldn’t run our service without women like ‘A’. Her journey is a testament to the impact the project has on women who access it.
If you are interested in joining our befriending team as one of our newest befriending volunteers, then please complete our online application form here