Statistics suggest that a growing proportion of our population are becoming lonely, socially isolated or socially excluded. This can arise for a number of reason; accessing transport or amenities, ill health, cultural factors, prejudice, poverty and age etc. Those particularly at risk are older people, people with a variety of physical, sensory or mental health issues and people who live on their own.
What is Befriending?
Befriending is defined as offering supportive, reliable relationships through volunteer befrienders to people who would otherwise be socially isolated (Befriending Networks Good Practice Guide).
It is important to distinguish between the meaning of the word ‘befriending’ as it might occur in everyday usage (‘making friends with’) and its meaning in relation to the provision of a professional support service of ‘friend-like’ relationships. Befriending relationships are supported through the setting of specific boundaries which are monitored to ensure they are working effectively and meeting the clients needs. Volunteers are supported with ongoing training and development opportunities to ensure they are supported and motivated.
Aims of Befriending
The primary aim of befriending is to enhance the quality of a befriendee’s life by offering them the opportunity to form a trusting relationship. “More specifically, services aim to enable their befriendee's to:
become less socially isolated
develop their self-confidence and emotional growth
increase their capacity to use personal resources
enhance their skills for forming and maintaining relationships with others
develop greater resilience
improve their wellbeing
feel supported by someone who is consistent and reliable
experience some purely social interaction on a regular basis (i.e. not simply as a by-product of receiving another service)
How does it Work in East Dunbartonshire?
In East Dunbartonshire, our service is delivered by three Community Link Workers each covering a specific geographical location: Bearsden & Milngavie, Bishopbriggs & Auchinairn and Kirkintilloch & The Villages. Our service seeks to match people with specific needs of social isolation and loneliness to volunteers who can provide support on a one to one basis, in groups or over the telephone. We also organise three large events for everyone each year; a Christmas in February, a Summer Bus Trip in June and a Silver Sunday in October. All these events are well attended. Our last Christmas in February was attended by over 100 people and was evaluated as a great success.
If you would like more information on becoming a Befriender or are looking for support from the Befriending service, please phone us on 0141 345 0432. Thank you!!
EDVA’s LEDVA’s Lunch Club Service provides services to provide a hot meal for older adults who require the service as well as increasing the social connectedness the lunch club users; reduce their isolation and loneliness and ensure that lunch club volunteers have access to high quality volunteering. unch Club Service provides services to provide a hot meal for older adults who require the service as well as increasing the social connectedness the lunch club users; reduce their isolation and loneliness and ensure that lunch club volunteers have access to high quality volunteering.
Some of our ladies enjoying lunch!