We are looking for compassionate people who are friendly, reliable and fun-loving. Often the previous experience is not needed. It's more about who you are than what you have done. Befriending is a chance to give something to others as a volunteer through your time and commitment. Because befriending involves supporting someone who is isolated. We will prepare and support you for the role of befriender and provide ongoing support once you have been matched with someone. Call our Circle of Friend's Co-ordinator Ryan Taylor for a chat 07903 403 301 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, our Circle of Friends befriending service has to adapt the way we provide support from visiting at home to telephone support. The aim of telephone befriending is to reduce feelings of social isolation and loneliness in older people. Volunteers are required to ring an older person to check on them and build a friendship. COULD YOU HELP? We still need more volunteers.
One of the many challenges of Covid restrictions is keeping in some kind of contact with a Circle of Friends' friend. In the warmer weather, it was much easier - we met in the garden with the inevitable cuppa. It was lovely to sustain the link, to share news and chat, but Winter and Restrictions pose new challenges:
Will my gentleman remember who I am?
Will he hear me okay on the phone?
Will I be able to sustain a conversation as easily?
Will he look or note in his diary for a chat?
It's been an interesting observation in remembering, at first he was puzzled as to why I wasn't visiting, then he dismissed the news as exaggerated and now the "exposure" to Covid news has found a significant place in this gentleman's memory. He doesn't forget my name and I'm reminded how important the Circle of Friends has become to him. So, phone calls are the best we have; they're usually shorter but often more frequent than visits and in normal times our conversation would feel stilted and a bit repetitive. But let's be honest, we none of us have much that's new to talk about do we? Timings for calls are more flexible so if he doesn't hear the phone I try again another day. My friend's humour and resilience shine through, he brightens my day for sure and I'm pleased the link hasn't had to stop.
It all began by reading an article in the Argyllshire Advertiser which mentioned the Circle of Friends at the Dochas Carers Centre. I pondered for weeks as to whether this was something I should look into. Eventually, the decision was made and, following a chat with Ryan, the co-operator everything was put in place. All necessary checks were made and an initial introduction was made to my befriendee to see how it went.
We hit it off from the start and our weekly "hour" became something we both looked forward to. Our conversations covered many topics - some light and entertaining and others very profound and thought-provoking.
Since the lockdown and no face to face contact, our weekly chats have been confined to the telephone. The chats are not quite so long, but regular contact is being maintained. To be told that, what to me is a small amount of my time on a busy day, means so much to someone whose days are relatively the same week after week, is very humbling.
So what does it mean to be a member of the Circle of Friends?
I have come to realise, we can't put the world right, but we can make a difference to the little bit of the world in which we live.
I started befriending during Lockdown last year. This means I have never actually met the lovely people I chat to weekly! I was anxious, at first, about phoning wondering how it would go, later I found out that that we were all a bit concerned. However, I feel that we have successfully built up good relationships with each other and I think we all enjoy our phone blethers. We always have a giggle, often reminisce and sometimes sort out the world's problems! I really look forward to my weekly chat. I am also looking forward to a time hopefully, in the not too distant future when we can meet face to face.