Community Befriending Programme
We are a local befriending service connecting volunteers with isolated people for friendship and support throughout Waverley, and more specifically from our church, Busbridge and Hambledon. Already the scheme has been a success. According to one of our befrienders “My volunteers warm welcome gave me a feeling of being wanted, restored my confidence and with the frequent visits, I have managed to get back on my feet – I cannot thank them enough for helping me get my life back again”.
The Befriending Network is run by Penny Naylor, and is a partner of The Link Visiting Scheme, which has been operating successfully in Wokingham Borough, Berkshire since 1998 where over 200 older people regularly receive visits from a volunteer specifically assigned to them. Using a ‘Community Franchise’ approach, we have established a similar scheme to serve the Busbridge and Hambledon area. However, our scheme is locally managed with local accounts from within this vicinity, receiving advice and support from the charity in Wokingham when necessary.
Anybody wishing to take part in the Befriending Network will be subject to a DBS Check. This is to protect both yourself and your befriendee.
DBS (which stands for Disclosure and Barring Service) Checks are carried out for a variety of jobs and volunteer positions, especially those involving working with vulnerable adults or young people. You will be required to fill out a short form, and bring along proof of your identity to be signed off by a witness. This form will then be sent back to the DBS and they will run a quick background check on every applicant. The check looks for any convictions, or information the police hold on an individual. They will then return the completed check to you, and provided there are no problems you are able to begin! The DBS check is free of charge and an application form will be sent out to you on receipt of your volunteer application form.
Loneliness and social isolation has become a huge problem in our nation and on a local level. It can affect people of all ages but perhaps the most vulnerable are our ageing population who may have:
- Problems getting out of the house due to poor mobility
- Health concerns meaning they need more help
- Family who may have moved away, or work full-time
- Loved ones who may have died
Experts agree that social isolation is the biggest challenge facing our ageing society and many older people fear loneliness more than lack of money or deteriorating health. Through the befriending scheme we hope that you as volunteers can help us achieve our aim of tackling this issue through friendship, support and social activities.
Are you reading this and thinking that you might benefit from having a befriender? Do you feel lonely, or would you benefit from a friendly visitor once a week? If so please do not hesitate to get in touch with us and we will do our absolute best to sort out a programme suited to you!
If you are interested in become a volunteer, please see our Befriender page, to see what you will gain from this role, and what we can to do support you throughout this process.