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.
Throughout the pandemic Turning Tides’ befriending volunteers have been critical in supporting the growing number of men and women who have become homeless. We are now looking to grow the service significantly to combat the isolation that is often experienced by those having to sleep rough.
As restrictions ease, we are looking to grow our befriending service, to ensure the increasing number of clients needing our services are able to access such a vital source of support across the county. Particularly, we are looking for potential volunteer befrienders in the Horsham area.
Danielle Huet, Volunteer Coordinator at Turning Tides explains; “During the pandemic we have been providing a befriending service to combat the feelings of loneliness that our clients were increasingly experiencing, especially during lockdown. The benefits have been so significant during such a challenging time that we are launching a new befriending drive – to secure more befrienders countywide as part of our Routes to Roots programme.”
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.