Become a Befriender
“In my experience as being a volunteer visitor, the visit can be welcome company for the older person, and for the volunteer you have a real sense of making a difference to someone else. I see it is as a two way street; an exchange where everyone benefits and its fun.”
—Simon, Befriender with Independent Age
Befriending organisations are always on the lookout for new volunteers!
What makes a good volunteer befriender?
- Someone who is interested in other people
- Someone who is a good listener
- Someone one who is reliable
- Someone who could commit to volunteering 2-3 hours each week
If this sounds like you, here's a few things to consider:
Find an organisation that is local to you and matches your area of interest by visiting our directory of Befriending Networks members. Organisations will provide training to prepare you for the role of befriender, so, often, previous experience is not needed; it's more about who you are than your previous experience. Bear in mind, however, that because befriending involves supporting someone who is isolated, organisations assess volunteers carefully and will take time to review your application/offer of volunteering. Once you've been matched with your befriendee, your organisation will offer regular support, supervision and ongoing training to continue to help you in your befriending role.
Befriending is a chance to give, by offering your time and commitment, but every befriender also has stories of what they get back in return.
Here's what one Befriender thinks about her experience
“I feel that volunteering with AiM has made me much more confident in speaking to new people and has encouraged me to start new conversations that I wouldn't necessarily have before. I have also found it has made it a lot easier for me to speak about both other people's, and my own, mental health with my peers. I was pretty sure that I wanted to do medicine before I started volunteering with AiM but seeing the young people's journeys and how much AiM has been able to help them has confirmed that I want to have a career in the caring profession.”
—Kim, Befriender with Action in Mind