Volunteer Befriending Week- Jean's Story

20/10/2016

Volunteer Befriending Week 1-7 November supports older people who are socially isolated by providing a volunteer befriender to visit them in their home on a regular basis to provide company and have a chat.

A kind gesture, which Jean never forgot, inspired her to become a Volunteer Befriender.

Jean was suffering from a serious illness some 15 years ago and had to attend hospital for treatment for several months. At that time Jean was offered a volunteer driver and as Jean explains ‘the volunteer come and collected me at my house, took me to hospital, waited on me and drove me back home, this took such a weight of my shoulders and I decided that if the opportunity ever arose that I would do the same for someone else.’

On Jean’s retirement some years later she was reading through the local newspaper and saw an advertisement for volunteers with the Safe & Well Project. Jean subsequently applied to become a Volunteer Befriender.

Jean had also been prompted to apply to become a befriender as she had been talking to her neighbour who said she was very lonely having been in hospital for several months and recently discharged. Jean said she would see what she could do to help. Having completed the Volunteer training and induction, Jean did as she had promised and referred her neighbour to Safe & Well and following a visit from the Coordinator Jean was matched with her neighbour as her Volunteer Befriender. That was six years ago.

 

The Caring Communities Safe & Well Coordinator, Sandra Glover, who has known Jean since she first volunteered said ‘Jean is an exceptional lady, very caring and considerate with a can do attitude, who not only volunteers with Bryson Charitable Group but also gives of her time to volunteer with other organisations. She is an inspiration for anyone about to retire and thinking about what’s next?’ Jean would urge people to think about who your neighbours are, are they lonely, could you support them in some small way, if so, don’t stand back become a Volunteer Befriender. Jean says ‘I can thoroughly recommend it.’

The South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust Caring Communities Safe & Well Service is currently seeking Volunteer Befrienders in your area.

If you are inspired by Jeans story and have one to two hours a week that you could spare to support an older person then please contact:

Sandra Glover, Caring Communities Safe & Well  Coordinator

Telephone: (028) 97566934.