We are principally a befriending project, providing a service to isolated older and disabled adults in and around Islington N1 and EC1.
What is Befriending?
A lot of elderly people and disabled adults are often very socially isolated and lonely.
This is compounded in many cases by mobility difficulties which means they find it hard to get out and access other facilities and activities, needing someone to lend a reassuring arm or push their wheelchair, and have a friendly body nearby.
The nature of befriending is very flexible and can encompass many different activities from playing chess with a client to helping them with their gardening.
Each individual relationship will be unique and dependant on a client’s needs and their volunteer’s abilities and interests.
Generally speaking, however, most befriending involves a combination of regular social contact visiting a client in their own home for a chat, say once a week, as well as occasional trips outdoors on outings to a local park, the shops, a café etc. an event that for many disabled adults or elderly folk can be very liberating and pleasureable.
Past volunteers have found that this is a great opportunity to develop skills in the care and social work field and a good way of making new friends.
How volunteers can help
The following are just a few of the ways in which as a volunteer befriender you can play an essential role in the lives of isolated or housebound individuals.
- Companionship spending time with a client.
- Gardening helping to restore and maintain gardens.
- Accompanying clients on short outings to local places of interest, like the local parks and shops, pushing a wheelchair if required.
- Helping someone who is visually impaired with their letters or correspondence.
The role of befriender is very varied and flexible. Read our Volunteer Stories and find out more.