What is Befriending?
“It is the need of every single one of us, child or grown-up, to feel wanted, to feel we belong and that we matter to someone else in the world. We all know, from our own experience, that feeling isolated from those around us, alienated from society, makes us sad, even angry. The deeper this isolation becomes, the more hurtful and resentful we feel and the more this is reflected in our behaviour. Such behaviour only leads to greater alienation.”
—Former Children's Laureate, Michael Morpurgo
Everyone needs other people, but not everyone has someone.
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 children and young people, families, people with mental ill-health, people with learning disabilities and older people, amongst many others.
The results of befriending can be very 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.