What is Befriending?
Befriending is a mutually rewarding friendship consisting of companionship and ‘time to talk over a cup of tea’. Volunteers will visit older people who meet our criteria for services in their home for an hour or so per week or every fortnight.
We are however frequently asked to supply volunteers so that older people can go out in a wheel chair, be supported with hospital appointments, to help them walk after an operation to improve their mobility, cleaning their homes or regular shopping activities (to name a few). Whilst our volunteers are amazing and do often help our scheme members with smaller less frequent tasks this only takes place once the trusting friendship has been developed. The activities we are asked to supply volunteers to undertake are definitely over and above the befriender role because;
a) there is a higher level of risk involved in undertaking these type of activities.
b) specialist training would be required to undertake what we consider to be a support worker or carer role.
c) Although there is a lot of good will from our volunteers their role is to build and maintain a friendship with an older person – NOT to undertake a paid worker type role.
We therefore ask professionals, individuals and families to be mindful of our criteria before making a referral to our service.