Everyone has encountered loneliness at some point in their lives, but it can be an ongoing experience that leaves people feeling isolated and alone.
With Christmas coming we often go out of our way to see more of relatives and friends, but some people don’t have anyone that might just pop in and see how they’re doing.
BEfriend, a charity that offers a volunteer befriending service, offers much needed companionship to people navigating life on their own. But with more than 50 referrals in the last month alone, the charity is looking for more volunteers that can spare a couple of hours each week to visit someone in need.
The charity’s chief executive, Rachel Hill, said: “This can be the loneliest time of all for some people, they might not see anyone or go anywhere for a number of reasons. We have 170 clients right now and the list is growing.
“Being a volunteer is all about offering company. We try to match our volunteers and clients with similar interests, but they often find things in common once they get chatting too. They might go for a walk together, watch a film, do a crossword or just sit and have a chat over a cup of tea.”
Rachel added one of the charity’s volunteers is currently teaching their client how to play the piano, after they expressed an interest in learning.
‘You could make a real difference’
Hayley has worked as a volunteer with Befriend for more than 2 years.
She said: “I used to work for the Post Office and it was only once I met my client that I found out he used to work as a post master so we instantly found things to talk about. It’s really rewarding, we go to social events together and I see the difference this service makes for people.
“I feel really strongly about the thought of people being lonely, it breaks my heart, but there a lot of people are isolated and have very little interaction with others. If you can spare just 1 or 2 hours a week you could make a real difference to someone’s life.”
The charity also organises social events for volunteers and their clients, which includes various entertainment and refreshments.
BEfriend offers training and plenty of support for its volunteers. And if you signed up today you could even be matched with someone in need of company by Christmas.
Find out how to become a volunteer.
Gift of giving
BEfriend is organising Christmas hampers for their clients this year to let them know someone cares and is thinking of them. You can help and make a difference by making a donation online.