Case Study: Ecas Befriending Service

Tue 7 Nov 2023

Ecas is a Befriending Networks member that offers friendship and companionship for isolated, physically disabled adults living in Edinburgh.

Their befriending volunteers come from all walks of life and ages and are checked for suitability when they sign up. They are trained in areas like disability awareness, boundaries, confidentiality, communication techniques, safety, and if necessary, wheelchair handling. 

Befrienders visit regularly to keep befriendees company, whether that’s at home for a chat, playing games, or getting out and about. 

Seeking new interactions

Paul has been a befriender with Ecas for nine years and still loves the experience. He contacted the organisation because he was looking to enjoy interacting with someone new, and felt befriending fitted the bill.

His first match was with a befriendee with complex needs. Paul went above and beyond to support them before they sadly passed away. 

During that first match he learned a lot, including developing his communication and support skills. He now works in a part-time support role.

Paul has been meeting Scott since late 2022. With some mobility difficulties and other health issues, Scott wanted a new friendship, someone who he could get to know from home.  

Never a dull moment

Paul and Scott were matched by Ecas’ Befriending team based on their mutual interests and compatible personalities, which has led to some deep conversations between the pair.

'Scott is a passionate person and I really get an education when I go to see him!' explains Paul. 'We talk about history, politics, music, football and all sorts. He often has something new to show me that he’s found for us to talk about. We make a coffee and get stuck in. It’s good fun!'

Getting to know Scott has been a great experience for Paul.

'It’s absolutely brilliant. As the weeks have gone on, I got to like him even more. He’s an easy guy to get on with, very likeable, and the experience is never boring.'

Both Paul and Scott have the support of the Ecas team, with regular chances to talk through any issues and share feedback.

'I know he’s enjoying it too; we’re always shaking hands at the end, and he lets me know he’s looking forward to the next meeting. I really enjoy going to see him as well, and over time he’s become more confident and relaxed.' 

Mission accomplished

Thinking back to where his befriending journey began, Paul feels he can tick off his original goals.

'I really do feel that I’m achieving what I wanted from befriending. I never expected it to be as good as it is, so I’m really chuffed.'

Live in Edinburgh and interested in being a befriender? Visit the Ecas profile on the Befriending Networks Directory to read more and get in touch.