Volunteer – Alwyn
I am a Volunteer Befriender
What does befriending involve?
Befriending is exactly what it says on the tin! Being someone’s friend. Caring about how they are, meeting up to check in, chat and have a coffee and feeling better for having seen each other.
What is befriending like?
I became a friend because someone asked me if I would. I thought hard about the commitment, not only of the time but also emotional energy. If I was going to be a friend, I wanted to ensure I could commit to the process properly. As it happens it was less onerous than I thought and I am really pleased to have taken on the role.
What have you gained from becoming a befriender?
Being a friend has enabled me to understand and be more accepting of situations and circumstances I knew very little about. It has given me friendships, which I would not normally have made. It has made me feel I am helpful and pleased I can make a difference.I have been a befriender for Turning Tides for over three years and in that time have had two friends. One of the friendships is drawing to a close because the friend is moving away, but the other is still going strong.
Because my friendships are well established, we probably meet every two or three weeks for about thirty minutes. We chat about anything and everything. My friend has had some rough times over the last three years, but is doing well at the moment, and its great to meet up and just check he is doing OK.
What would you say to someone thinking about volunteering as a befriender?
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.
3 words to sum up your volunteering experience.
Worthwhile – Supportive – Fun!