Case Study: Monifieth Befrienders

Fri 3 Nov 2023

As a member of Befriending Networks, Monifieth Befrienders offers a free service for socially isolated older people, and recently bereaved people of any age, who live within the area.

The main aim of Monifieth Befrienders is to provide social contact for those aged 60 or over who would benefit from companionship or becoming more included within their local community.

Volunteer befrienders visit their befriendees at home or take them out and about, such as for a coffee or a run in the car. There’s also a Young Befrienders programme, with sixth-year pupils from Monifieth High School volunteering as befrienders, and visiting their befriendees on a weekly basis.

Events and groups have been set up to encourage befriendees to get involved with the local community, such as afternoon teas, coffee mornings, film shows, bus trips and a knitting group.

New friends

Jim has been a volunteer with Monifieth Befrienders for over three years and meets Margaret every week to take her out to lunch in cafes and restaurants nearby. It’s a chance for her to get out of the house and see more of her local community, including the changes happening.

It has a positive impact on her wellbeing. She doesn’t get many opportunities to speak to anyone the rest of the week, and describes Jim’s visits as a 'lifeline'. Even getting to see 'simple things like digging up the road round the corner' helps her feel more connected with what is happening in her local area.

Jim was an obvious choice for Monifieth Befrienders when they were looking to recruit people to volunteer with the project. Very down to earth, and with a dry sense of humour, he can relate to all sorts of people. The organisation was also aware of his mental health issues and thought it would help his confidence.

From his viewpoint, Jim had time on his hands and felt that he would be 'giving something back to the community'. Of his befriendee, he said: 'I get on great with Margaret. We’re on the same wavelength and have good banter.' 

Befrienders who brunch

When Monifieth Befrienders noticed that most of the activities on offer were being attended by women, the Brunch Group was born. It’s a place where men can get together each week, enjoy a bacon roll, talk football or politics, or take each other on at pool or dominoes.

The Brunch Group is supported by a team of three. They work well together, understanding their own role, but are not afraid to chip in where help is needed.

Alongside his befriending with Margaret, Jim is part of the Brunch Group team. He says he gets satisfaction 'knowing that I have given back to the community and helped someone. It makes my day. Too many people are lonely in this world and to give up a couple of hours a week is no hard thing. I certainly recommend befriending.'

One of Jim’s colleagues describes him as 'very caring toward the men who come to the club. He ensures they are seated and takes time to chat to them as to their health and welfare, before taking the order for tea/coffee and a choice of roll.' 

Get involved

If you would like to know more about Monifieth Befrienders, and perhaps volunteer as a befriender, please visit their profile page on the Befriending Networks Directory.