New Leaf have been operating a befriending service over the past six years. The purpose of the service is to offer support, build trust and resilience and reduce isolation for our tenants and members of the local community. We recognise that this is a valuable service that has been used by people facing all sorts of different issues in their lives. There are two strands to this service: Befriendees and Volunteer Befrienders.
Historically we have supported befriendees that may have just moved into the area and do not know anyone and they wish to gain local knowledge and access activities or groups for themselves and their families. We have supported individuals who live alone and like having someone to talk too, this has proved a lifeline for people that are housebound. There have been befriendees who have suffered a bereavement or life changing circumstance and it has helped to have an outsider to discuss things with. Each befriendee has different needs and meetings with a volunteer befriender are always befriendee led. This means that any actions to “move forward” are discussed and set at the befriendee’s own pace, if that is what their wishes are. For some people moving forward is not an option, they just need to talk and that is fine.
Over the past 6 years CTH have trained 4 cohorts of befrienders to work in the community to support our tenants and local residents. This has provided an opportunity for individuals to learn some new skills, gain volunteering experience which could enhance a persons CV and also benefit the community. Being involved has proved beneficial for many of our volunteers by providing that feel good factor that comes from offering a hand to someone in need. The training involves exploring how best to communicate and interact with others whilst supporting them. Some of the topics covered are asking open questions, setting boundaries, safeguarding and confidentiality.
We ask that our volunteers meet with their befriendee once a week for an hour over a period of 6 months.
Currently we are unable to offer full training due to the pandemic, the course really needs face to face interaction to be effective. However, if you are interested in volunteering in the near future please register your interest with our Befriending Co-ordinator. Likewise, if you would like to have a Befriender visit or know of someone that could benefit from having someone to talk to please contact our Befriending Co-ordinator on [email protected] or call 07776 587795.