Befriending grows in challenging times

Mon 27 Apr 2020

Like many befriending projects, BHA BeFriend was challenged to transition its in-person befriending to a distance model in accordance with social distancing measures introduced because of COVID-19. The team responded by converting face-to-face  to telephone befriending. With more people experiencing loneliness than ever before, BeFriend soon began accepting new referrals and training new volunteers and continues to do so.

The scope of what BHA BeFriend's services includes has expanded too. Volunteers now help with gardening, with occassional help from Therapet Holly! One volunteer shared, "Being a Befriender is key to my wellbeing and and gives me the reason to get out and make someone else's life less lonely." By teaming up with Scottish Borders Food Train, staff also deliver weekly groceries to older people.  

In need of good news? BHA BeFriend's social media pages are full of helpful information, updates on how their staff and volunteers are making a difference (including featured photo with staff member Kerry having a social distance chat with Freda and Tom) and uplifting messages. Features include #ThrowbackThursday photos of Brew and Blether groups, photos of volunteers gardening, new recipes and crafts to try and screenshots of staff and volunteers' Zoom Meetings. 

It is extremely encouraging to see so many of our members, like BHA BeFriend, as well as new voluntary organisations and community groups rising to the occassion by finding creative ways to continue and expand their services to meet the growing need for connection and support. If you have a good news story to share, email: