We can all feel lonely sometimes, but if the feeling stays with us it can stop us going out, meeting people and doing things we once enjoyed. Loneliness is invisible. But it can also make you feel invisible – especially if you are an older person. Across West Dunbartonshire we know that as many as 1 in 6 of our older neighbours are living with loneliness and isolation. They will live in your street, shop in your supermarket and support your football team. Befriending is an amazing opportunity to not only help reduce someone’s loneliness, but possibly also the health problems that often come with it. Could you volunteer a few hours of your time each week to help someone feel connected again? Studies show there are positive benefits for befrienders too. From knowing you are making a real difference in someone’s life through to possibly improving your own social skills and confidence.
At WDCVS we have a number of volunteer-led befriending options to get people more active and engaged again – all we need is you.
Debbie Quinn – Why I Befriend
Why did I get into befriending? Well, I’m 47, I’ve worked all my life and I just feel it’s time to reduce my hours a bit. I work with a bank, and I love what I do, but I would like to put something more into my community. We do have the opportunity to volunteer at work, through the bank’s corporate responsibility work. We’ve painted walls in a primary school and helped with the gardens, alongside the children. I also help with my son’s football team, organising events and anything else they need.
My mum and dad were older parents. I spent time taking care of them, and now they have passed away, I feel that I could use that spare time to help others.
I found the Befriending service online and applied to be a befriender. It took a wee bit of time for my PVG to come through, but now I have it, I can’t wait to get started. I know lots of older people live alone and isolation is high after covid. So, if I can reduce that isolation and give someone a bit of company it would be rewarding for me, too. I’m really looking forward to it and I think any amount of time I can spend with someone to give them a bit of joy and a bit of fun in their lives will be just amazing. Whether it’s half a day or half an hour.
I work from home, and I’m looking forward to getting out of the house more myself! Just sitting with someone, listening to them, whether the person is older or not isn’t important. Many of the people the service helps just need that chat and a cup of tea. Others want someone to go out with, for shopping or a walk if they are not confident with their mobility. It‘s these simple things that can make somebody’s day. If I can help someone smile, I will feel good too and I hope to help the person I befriend to feel more confident and independent.
A few weeks ago, I met an elderly person coming off the train and she was looking for the post office, I told her that I would walk her there… so I guess you could say I was practicing!
That’s why befriending is important, there are so many people out there that just need a bit of help and knowing they can trust someone.
If you could help or just want to know more call us on 0141 941 0886 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also find out more information on our Befriending page.