When I first signed up for a befriending role, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. The training is well structured and thorough, but until you get going its hard to know how the friendship will develop. My advice to anyone new would be to go with it and see what works for both people. If you are thinking of becoming a befriender, give it a go. You will get the support you need. You will make a difference to someone else’s life as well as your own.
I’ve always had a desire to support individuals who are homeless, as I feel there is a huge injustice in society when someone is deprived of receiving the fundamentals in life, like food and shelter. I read about Turning Tides and all of the great work they do to support people experiencing homelessness, and then saw their ‘Festive Friends’ volunteering opportunity.
It has changed my life in ways I cannot describe. The residents always thank me, but it is me who thanks them sincerely for allowing me into their homes to cook with them. I have met so many incredible people – staff, clients & volunteers. I get to cook the food I love, for people I care deeply about. It’s the best thing I have ever done.
I have gained so much from my volunteering role – it’s given me an appreciation to the daily struggle faced by the people that need their services. It has broken down the barriers I had in approaching those in need. I felt almost unable to offer anything of worth but in reality a simple conversation goes a long way.