Time to Talk Befriending
We are an award winning Sussex based befriending charity for people aged 65+. Our service is currently available in Brighton and Hove, Adur and Worthing. The charity is rooted in research. Every aspect of our service has been developed in response to the voice of older people and volunteers.
Our aim is to help everyone referred to our service by taking the time to ascertain what they would like and need. We have strong partnerships with like-minded authorities, charities and organisations which enables us to signpost and help people to access activities and services of interest to them including our own one-to-one befriending, group befriending, intergenerational projects and seasonal events programme.
We tackle the issue of older people’s isolation and wellbeing in a positive and fresh way by activating community volunteers of all ages and training them to become ‘befrienders’. They visit older people weekly and fortnightly in their homes to provide friendship, discussion and time together. The results have proven that our model has significant impact: 89% of our scheme members state it is having a very positive impact on their lives and 94% of volunteers agree that they are matched with the right person based on interests, hobbies and location and that they would recommend befriending to their friends.
We are founded on intergenerational principles. From the start we wanted to connect older people with younger people, helping to connect and reduce the sense of feeling forgotten and hidden away from society. We specifically wanted a strand to our programme to facilitate our members being connected to their educational communities. In 2019, we trained 450 sixthform pupils in safe befriending and these pupils help host and cater at our group befriending meet ups for our members. We also partner with a Forest School for pre-schoolers, so our older members can spend time in nature with the young children who are learning educational outcomes through nature and science. This has a huge impact for our members who spend the vast majority of their time in their homes. We organise pickups, drop offs, and give them confidence to leave their home in a safe way. In addition, in 2019 we began a term-time trial of our new project ‘’Life Stories’’ where school students are trained in journalism and guided writing skills and interview practice to work with our older members to produce and publish a book of the lives of our members. Initial evaluation has been very high from both sets of participants.
We have all the systems in place: DBS checking, GDPR guidelines, our Charity Log database, insurance, relationships with referral agencies (such as NHS Older People’s Services), an experienced staff team and referral partners. We have a Trustee Management Committee and have recently transitioned CIO (charitable incorporated organisation) status. We also introduced a Members Panel in 2019 made up of our younger people volunteers, our older scheme members, a school partner and a specialist researcher and lecturer at the University of Sussex to help keep the voice of our members at the heart of our work. More recently, in March 2020, we were awarded an 'excellence' accreditation as approved befriending providers through the national organisation Befriending Networks.
To make a referral please contact the team on 01273 737710 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively a referral form and our referral process document can be located via our website: http://www.tttb.org.uk/referrals/.
Information for volunteers
Two factors are key to maintain good health in older age: remaining active and maintaining friendships. Befriending an older person on a weekly or fortnightly basis helps them stay connected. In most cases, it is proven to make a lasting positive difference in their lives. Evidence states that volunteers are just as likely to positively benefit from the experience as the people they help. Feeling valued, creative expression, using skills and engaging with other people all build friendships and enhance feelings of well-being which strengthens resilience during difficult times. To volunteer with us please visit our website www.tttb.org.uk/volunteers for further details, call 01273 737710 or email email@example.com.