Not Christmas yet, but still lots of good will

Posted on 3rd November 2015 by

It is already November. In the bursting out of pre-Christmas publicity, it would be easy to miss that this week is National Befriending Week – a chance to highlight befriending as a means of combating loneliness. The photo below shows me and Impetus colleagues proclaiming the message.

Impetus team Befriending Week - Befrienders beat loneliness

In August we did a survey of our scheme members and volunteers. Since then, our office volunteer Lorraine has sat at my left shoulder several times a week inputting the survey responses on to the computer. We know the impact that befriending can have on people, from this simple response by an 84-year-old man who is still missing his late wife…

“[I] feel less down”

…to this very thoughtful explanation from an 85-year-old woman:

“I can summarise the various positive effects under the heading of: MORALE CHANGE. In addition to being very willing to offer physical and technological support, he has filled a gap in my life which led to a certain amount of desperation. He knows how to make me feel that I have a friend I can talk to after having left behind life-long friends in my previous residence. He is invaluable.”

Befriending can also be pretty positive all round as this volunteer visitor attests:

“Helping someone else helps them and is good for the wider community but makes me feel good too.”

We’ll be posting more positive responses from volunteers throughout the week.

In fact, at the Neighbourhood Care Scheme, every week is befriending week. For years we have been tapping a deep reservoir of neighbourly good will (and know this is not something people just save up for Christmas): on average, we have made at least one new befriending match every week since 2008. This year, we have already recruited 74 new volunteers; last month, we interviewed 19 new volunteers, which has put us in a mood for celebration. It is good to know that that we are not alone across the country.

And nor are we alone in Brighton & Hove. Over the last year, through the Brighton & Hove Befriending Coalition, Impetus has brought together eighteen organisations in Brighton & Hove that are involved with befriending. Between us, over the last year, we have enabled over 600 volunteers to support more than 800 isolated older people, adults with physical and learning disabilities, and people affected by cancer. The members of the Befriending Coalition are:

One Church
Impact Initiatives
Hangleton & Knoll Project
Macmillan Brighton Buddies
L’Chayyim
Royal Voluntary Service
Time To Talk Befriending
LGBT Switchboard
Somerset Day Centre
Aphasia Befriending Service
Grace Eyre
Community Works
Stay Up Late
St Vincent de Paul Society
Helping Hands
Trust for Developing Communities
Age UK Brighton & Hove Horizons
East Sussex Association of Blind and Partially Sighted People (ESAB)
Neighbourhood Care Scheme (Impetus)

To celebrate National Befriending Week, the Befriending Coalition is holding a tea party for the public at:

The Hop 50+, Palmeira Square, Hove BN3 2FL
2.30 – 4.30 p.m., Friday 6th November 2015

(Please note: The Hop 50+ is the new name for what was St John’s Centre and Café. For more information, click here.)

Why not come and join us and learn more about befriending – a simple activity that can make a big difference.

 
If you want to reply to this post you can comment below, on Twitter (@BHImpetus), or on Facebook.


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