Buckinghamshire Mind is recruiting volunteers in North Bucks for its Befriending Service, which provides one-to-one support for adults who are lonely or isolated as a result of mental ill-health.
“We urgently need people in North Bucks, particularly Aylesbury, Buckingham and Winslow, to become volunteer befrienders to help people in their local area,” explains Zoe Sole, Bucks Mind’s Befriending Coordinator. “Bucks Mind provide full training, ongoing support, expenses and time credits for our volunteers. We work positively by introducing people to each other on a friendly, informal and supportive basis. The aim is to promote confidence, independence and address the isolation people with a mental health problems often experience.”
Buckinghamshire Mind’s Befriending Coordinators recruit and train volunteers who then form ‘partnerships’ with people from the local community living with a mental health condition. Partnerships are facilitated by Bucks Mind support workers with volunteers and service users meeting once a week for an hour to two-hours for six months (short term) or one year (long term). They can be based around a specific activity, learning a particular skill or simply a cup of tea and a chat in a local coffee shop.
“My experiences as a volunteer befriender have made me realise how mental ill-health can so easily lead to isolation and loneliness and to recognise that a person does not need to be living alone to be lonely,” says one of Bucks Mind’s volunteers. “There most definitely is a ‘feel good factor’ about befriending, where you can see first-hand how the small amount of time you give, can impact the quality of life of another person. I like to view befriending as a first stage in breaking isolation; it is during befriending that the possibility of moving forward into wider social contact can be explored and supported.”
People who have benefited from Buckinghamshire Mind’s Befriending Service have provided very positive feedback about their experience:
“I am back in work. Befriending helped me get out of a rut.”
“Befriending has given me confidence and changed my attitude.”
“I’m getting more confident and helping to improve things for myself.”
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer befriender, please contact Zoe Sole on 07508 021911 or email [email protected]
To find out more, please visit: www.bucksmind.org.uk/services/befriending