Volunteers Week: Welsh Minister joins Befriending Networks in celebrating Volunteer Befrienders

Tue 11 Jun 2024

The Welsh Government Minister for Mental Health, Jayne Bryant AS/MS joined members of Befriending Networks in Wales in celebrating their volunteer befrienders at our event in Cardiff last week. 

Following lunch at Chapter Arts Centre, participants, joined by Befriending Networks staff and Board Member Bonnie Bowhay, shared their experiences and reflected on how their work supports people’s wellbeing and reduces loneliness and social isolation.  

We asked volunteers and volunteer coordinators about their proudest befriending moment. Responses included:  

  • “knowing that in the last six months of my friend’s life, I made her feel far less lonely”
  • “being told that speaking to me is the highlight of their week”
  • “witnessing someone grow and flourish with a volunteer’s care and friendship” 

Befrienders from each member organisation were also able to share some of these experiences directly with the Minister, who addressed the participants, thanking them for their contribution to wellbeing and social connection; and sharing her personal connection to Befriending, having seen the benefits of it with a member of her own family.  

One participant said, ’It was great to see so many organisations and volunteers come together to celebrate our wonderful volunteers!’ .

If you would like to keep connected with befriending projects in Wales contact matt@befriending.co.uk or book on to our upcoming regional networking event on 20th June, 13.00-14.00. Register here: Networking: Regional Networking - Wales — Befriending Networks 

Volunteer Befrienders received certificates of appreciation from their befriending coordinator and our CEO, Susan Hunter. We asked coordinators to tell their volunteers what makes them “Brilliant Befrienders,” and we wanted to share a few of these with you!  

  • “You provide an invaluable lifeline to your Friend, for which I know he is so grateful, and values your calls every week” 
  • “You are always willing to get stuck in, showing enthusiasm and a readiness to take the initiative. Your generous contribution of time has greatly impacted both our team and our clients”
  • “You are one of the most caring and gentle souls out there, visiting a lady in her home and conversing in their first language - Welsh. You have developed a special bond.” 

We hope that everyone had a brilliant Volunteers Week 2024, and we look forward to you continuing the celebration and recognition during Befriending Week which will take place 1-7 November 2024.