Befriending offers supportive, reliable relationships through volunteer befrienders to people who would otherwise be socially isolated.
Around the UK, there are befriending projects which organise effective support for young people, families, people with mental ill-health, people with learning disabilities and older people, amongst many others. Our programme supports adults living in Medway, but cannot support people with advanced dementia, unreasonable behaviours, or complex mental health problems.
The results of befriending can be significant. Befriending often provides people with a new direction in life, opens up a range of activities and leads to increased self-esteem and self confidence. Befriending can also reduce the burden on other services which people may use inappropriately as they seek social contact. 96% of people we work with (who have had repeat baseline assessments) have improved in at least one measure of health and wellbeing, 53% are less anxious, and 38% have reduced their use of health services.
We help to connect people with activities which are going on in the communities around us; we provide either one-to-one or telephone befrienders, and we run park chat sessions across Medway, as well as a WhatsApp social and walking group. We also run Zoom chat sessions twice a week for our Members. Over the pandemic our volunteers have been making around 150 calls per week to isolated people in Medway.
We are taking new referrals to our service too- so if you are aware of someone who is on their own, and perhaps self-isolating, you (or they) can get in touch and we will do our best to help.
We're also running a digital inclusion pilot- Bridging the Divide. This lends tablets to socially isolated adults in Medway while helping them with a Digital Champion to engage in the digital arena- and hopefully join in some of our zoom chat sessions amongst other things.
The referral form can be downloaded from here.
Guidance notes for completing the referral form can be downloaded from here.
If you are interested in volunteering to help us with this service we would be delighted to hear from you. If you already have a DBS check that is fantastic. If not, don’t worry as we can arrange that and all safeguarding and other necessary training to ensure you and our service users are safe and secure.
Please contact Becky, Dalia, Louise or Yeasmin using the details given below.
The application form can be downloaded from here.
The Test Bed Fund is funded by Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group and managed by MVA's Befriending Team. It offers grants to organisations operating locally in Medway or Swale for the provision of services and activities that seek to strengthen community cohesion through befriending services. It is specifically designed to pilot new and innovative ways of working.
We were looking for:
•New initiatives to be explored/ tested
•Specialised conditions-focused befriending support
•Locality-based befriending services
•Further development of existing services
•Stimulating local activities
The 'End of Year Report 2020-2021' can be download from here.
All applications had to be in by 27th August 2021, with projects starting no later than October 2021.
The following documents explain more about the fund
For more information on any aspects of the Befriending scheme please call Becky, Dalia, Louise or Yeasmin on 01634 564939 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The Friendly Team”