Creativity Keeps Befriendships Going

Wed 22 Apr 2020

From their smiling faces, it is hard to imagine there was a time when Mary and Rachel did not know each other, but in fact, it was not too long ago that the West Kent Befriending Service introduced them. Mary is living with dementia and was experiencing loneliness. Rachel works full-time, but wanted to volunteer, so through West Kent Befriending Service, the pair were matched and spent a couple hours every weekend together.

At first Rachel, found it difficult to connect with Mary when she went to visit at her home, but once they began to go to cafes and tea rooms, their befriendship transformed. Mary literally lit up when she was able to get out and about.

When photos of what Mary had been doing through West Kent Befriending Service were share with her son, who lives some distance away, he was astounded, relieved and thankful: “What a better place the world is for the likes of Rachel, and indeed yourself with all the effort you put in. How much poorer we would be without your kind to help us all. I was going to say you have no idea just how grateful I am to you and your helpers/befrienders but perhaps you do because (I would like to think) others have said as much. Too often folk are led to complain and not praise. Your care and attention are a blessing to me in that I feel I can relax more.” (A video montage of the pair was also shared on Facebook) 

Due to social distancing measures, Mary and Rachel are unable to meet in person and, because Mary has a hearing impairment, telephone conversations are not an option. But Rachel still wanted to make sure Mary knew she was not alone and, therefore, came up with an ingenious solution: she would regularly put notes along with photos of their good times together through Mary’s letterbox.

In response to these efforts and the efforts of all their volunteers, Wendy, coordinator of West Kent Befriending Service expressed, “It really touches my heart when I see what our volunteers are doing, as always I count myself extremely fortunate to be surrounded by the best ever volunteers and supporters”

Befriending Networks applauds the work of its members and their volunteers whose adaptability has meant they can continue to support those experiencing loneliness as well as all the new befriending initiatives that have started as a result to social isolation and loneliness brought about by the effects of COVID-19 isolation. We believe it is important to celebrate the good work being done at this time. If you have a good news story to share, get in touch by emailing