A few months ago I wrote a blog post about befriending, what people get out of it and why it is a service that is so badly needed in the borough. Several months on there is still a pressing need for more befrienders, and the links that form between volunteers and people who were previously very isolated are the building blocks of the all-important community ties that in our experience really must continue to be emphasised in care strategies at both local and national levels in the future.
With all of this in mind I am pleased to be able to tell you all today about our own brand new befriending scheme that is being run by our colleagues over at Volunteer Centre Lewisham (VCL). Before I launch into the detail, I think it is important to acknowledge that it is really a reflection of the dynamic and responsive voluntary sector in Lewisham that the project has been started up. This is something that all involved should be proud of, from the commissioners at Lewisham Council who had the foresight to fund the work that we have done to the development workers and facilitators within Community Connections that have uncovered this need and worked so hard to address it, to the wonderful staff at VCL who are in charge of the befriending project to the new volunteers who have already signed up to be befrienders. I think this project is not only an important practical step on the road to making Lewisham a better place to grow old, it also sends a strong message to everyone that the voluntary sector in Lewisham listens to service users and responds effectively. Without further ado then, here is the key information about the project:
COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS BEFRIENDING AND MENTORING SCHEME
Volunteer Centre Lewisham’s Community Connections Befriending Scheme is aimed at providing 1-2-1 as well as group support to older and vulnerable adults in the Borough of Lewisham.
How we work
We recruit, train and supervise people interested in becoming volunteer befrienders and introduce befrienders and service users to each other in a friendly, informal and supportive process. The main aim of this befriending scheme is to actively promote independence and recovery. The Befriending Co-ordinator & volunteer befrienders will work with rather than for the service user.
Who do we work with?
Anyone who is over the age of 18 and belongs to the following groups may be able to use our service:
- Older people
- Disabled people
- Substance abusers
- People at risk of exclusion
- Vulnerable adults
The Befriending Co-ordinator will meet with you to do an initial assessment and will discuss what you need from us and how we can support you. This might include help to access an activity, learning a new skill, accompanying you for appointments or simply having someone to talk to.
Once we know what you need the Befriending Co-ordinator will find you a suitable volunteer and introduce you as soon as possible.
How to access the service
You can self-refer or you can be referred by your Doctor, by social services or through other agencies. Befriending Scheme Referral Form
We are recruiting
The Befriending scheme depends on volunteers and we are always looking for reliable and committed people interested in becoming volunteer befrienders to support vulnerable and older adults in the local community. Click this link to see the volunteer role description: Volunteer Befriender
We offer full training and support to all our volunteers and we provide out of pocket expenses as well.
For more information please call Aparna Sapre, Community Connections Befriending Co-ordinator on 020 8613 7113 or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
So if you have a few hours to spare and would like to be more involved in your community, please come and join us!
Post by Henry