The aim of the Volunteer Befriending Service is to create or extend one’s own personal social network of support. The scheme works on the principle that all of us in varying ways need people in our lives that we feel are special to us. This may include family, friends, colleagues and neighbours or indeed anyone else identified as being of importance to our own individual support and social network. Unfortunately sometimes this network may become limited or in some cases lost completely. This could be due to circumstances which may include for example, a person being hospitalised for a long period of time or having repeated episodes of hospitalisation over a number of years. It can also be that the nature and length of a person’s ill health has gradually confined them to their own home with the result that they start to lose that vital contact with the outside world. That person may also feel themselves becoming increasingly withdrawn and isolated with almost no social network, hobbies or interests.
Who is Befriending for?
The befriending service exists to support adults aged from 18 to 65 years living within the Wirral community who are experiencing or have experienced mental health problems. It may be that an individual has a long standing involvement with the Community Mental Health Teams or as is sometimes the case under their own G.P. experiencing a period of mild to moderate depression and / or anxiety. This service is also available to the carers of individuals offering respite care and support.
What Does a Befriender Do?
The role of a befriender can be far ranging. Every person has individual needs so an introduction to a volunteer befriender must and does reflect this. Typically a befriender will visit on a regular weekly basis for about 1 to 2 hours. This may be within a person’s own home or at an arranged meeting point outside, for example at their local shops, café or park etc. A befriender can simply listen and talk with that person, and by so doing offer that vital and very special emotional support that is often most needed by all of us; or on a more practical level they can also accompany that person on hospital visits or other trips.
How Long May I Have a Befriender For?
The befriending service operates on an open-ended basis. The average length of time is between 1 to 2 years, but as is the case with all appropriate befriending programmes the length of time is determined by the needs and requirements of the individual.
Are Befrienders Paid Members of Staff?
No, all befrienders are volunteers and as such do not benefit financially from any befriending relationship. It should also be noted that befrienders do not replace for example, nurses, home helps, social workers or indeed any other professional support networks of an individual.
For More Information Please Contact:
The Befriending Co-ordinator
WIRRAL MIND’S Befriending Department
St Catherine’s Community Hospital
Tel: 0151 678 5111 (Extn: 3621)