News & Press
Welcome to Befriending Networks' Media Centre.
Volunteers' Week in Review
Volunteers' Week 1-7 June has been a wonderful time of thanking volunteer befrienders for the enthusiasm, dedication and support they show all year. Read on for a thank you message from Befriending Networks CEO Sarah Van Putten, an inspiring volunteering story from Age UK South Gloucestershire and to discover how our members celebrated this week!
Celebrating Volunteers' Week
Volunteers' Week, 1-7 June, is a time to say thank you to volunteers for their time, effort and enthusiasm. It's also a time to celebrate the importance of volunteering to charities, communities and the volunteers themselves. Read more about what volunteering has meant to Charley, a befriender with Kirk Mearns Helping Hands.
Mental Health Awareness Week
10-16 May is Mental Health Awareness Week and this year's theme is Nature. Read all about what you can do to get involved this week, how the Befriending Networks Team has been getting out into nature and signposts to services to help you support your mental health.
Support Your Wellbeing During Stress Awareness Month
Home-working, home-schooling and all the other restrictions brought about during the various periods of Lockdown over the past year have presented many challenges to mental health and wellbeing. This is why it is particularly important to reflect and take some positive actions to support yourself and others during Stress Awareness Month this April. Read on for great ideas of little ways to make a big difference to wellbeing from our members!
An Update from Befriending Networks
With our membership growing and the pandemic continuing, it has been a busy start of 2021 for Befriending Networks. Read on to learn more about our team and who to contact with your enquiries.
Launch of the New Volunteer Training Toolkit
Befriending Networks is excited to announce the launch of the new Volunteer Training Toolkit, which will support members to train volunteer befrienders. Read more to find out more about what's included in the Toolkit and how to sign up!
31 Organisations to receive Funding Announced
We are delighted to announce the 31 organisations receiving funding from the £100k Scottish Government’s Winter Support Package Grant to Befriending Networks to share with our members, delivering local befriending projects in Scotland. We were really pleased with the creativity and quality of these applications, making our decisions difficult.
Befriending Fund Opens to Applications - UPDATE FUND NOW CLOSED
We are delighted to announce that we are now seeking applications for the Befriending fund. This funding has been allocated to Befriending Networks through the Scottish Government Winter Support Package, to tackle social isolation and loneliness over the winter period and in response to the particular challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Looking Back on 2020 with Befriending Networks
Befriending Networks reflects on 2020 and wishes its members a safe and happy holiday season.
(Please note, the Befriending Networks Team will have laptops closed & phone off from 5pm 22 December, returning 9am on 5 January)
Scottish Government’s Winter Support Package Funding Announcement
We are delighted to have been awarded funding of £100k from the Scottish Government’s Winter Support Package, that we can share with our members delivering local befriending projects in Scotland.
#Befriendingis Giving and Gaining with Arran CVS
Befriending takes place in all parts of the UK, in towns and cities, in rural locations, and in the islands. A befriender and a befriendee from a match that is supported by Arran CVS Befriending Project share their experiences.
#BefriendingIs Volunteering with Community Companions, St Barnabas House, West Sussex
Over the last few months, volunteering for St Barnabas House has been mostly on hold. One role that has been able to continue is our Community Companions offering telephone befriending. Volunteers Sue and Pete share their experiences.
#BefriendingIs Fun with a visit from Therapet Holly and the BHA BeFriend team in Berwickshire
The BeFriend project in Berwickshire has been finding new and creative ways to keep in touch safely since visiting in befriendees’ homes was suspended because of the pandemic. Holly, a registered Therapet with Canine Concern Scotland Trust, helps to make up the Therapet contingent of BeFriend and is featured saying hello through the window to her friend Mary. Mary’s face lights up whenever she sees Holly and Holly’s tail wags so much she almost wags herself out of Sarah’s arms!
#BefriendingIs a way of giving back with Age UK North Yorkshire & Darlington
Read what volunteering means to Maisie, a 17 year old Good Friends Volunteer with Age UK North Yorkshire & Darlington.
#Befriendingis Transforming Lives with Vintage Vibes, Edinburgh
Before connecting with Vintage Vibes, David rarely left the comforts of his home. Then he was introduced to Lindsey, and life beyond his four walls opened up.
#BefriendingIs Intergenerational as Aylesbury Youth Action volunteers spend time with care home residents
Aylesbury Youth Actions aims to support young people to develop their skills and have new experiences, by making and being recognised for a positive contribution to their community. AYA,’s befriending project is called Biscuit Buddies, two of whom share their stories here!
#BefriendingIs Moments of Togetherness with Opening Doors London
Befriending matters because it means a lot. Even thought the time shared between befriending matches may only be an hour a week, that time can be life changing. It is, therefore, difficult when a match comes to an end. Oli Gregory, a volunteer befriender with Opening Doors London, shares his feelings following the passing of his befriendee, Luke. Our thanks go to Oli for being so open in sharing his experience.
#BefriendingIs Welcoming New Friends with B:friend, Rotherham
Ursula felt her world ended at her garden gate, but thanks to B:friend, her circle is expanding with new people in her life and through fascinating conversation, she can now travel the world in her mind. Read more about Ursula's journey!
#BefriendingIs Supporting Wellbeing through Health in Mind Re:discover, Midlothian
Health in Mind volunteers have supported people in many innovative ways to stay connected and to focus on wellbeing during these unprecedented times. Lisa Hodkinson, Support and Development Worker, Re:discover, Health in Mind reflects, "Whilst we could never have anticipated the last few months, we feel proud about how quickly our volunteers and those using our befriending services have adapted to new ways of interacting, proactively trying new things to support positive mental health and wellbeing."
#Befriendingis Making a Huge Difference through Passing the Baton
Bethany Christian Trust’s Passing the Baton is a befriending service supporting vulnerable people in our community who are both at risk of, or have experienced, homelessness. Watch Carol and Sandra as they tell their story.