Building special friendships through volunteer befriending.

02/05/2019

Could you spare some of your free time to befriend someone in your community?

Elizabeth has been a Volunteer Befriender with Caring Communities Safe & Well for a couple of years now. The first person Elizabeth visited moved out of the area and it was just too far to travel to her new home. Elizabeth says ‘befriending involves giving only one hour per week and if you are retired it is nice to give something back’. Elizabeth explains ‘I meet up with Gloria once per week. Gloria is a widow like me, so I am enjoying her company, we have a good giggle and the hour just flies by! I would encourage others to get involved because there are so many lonely people. Even I can have days when I see no one, but for some older people who cannot get out and have no relatives close by an hour of your time would be a godsend.’

Gloria reiterates ‘as Elizabeth says we are both widows.’ Gloria’s husband died two years ago and as she says ‘you never get over the loss; you just muddle along and try and get on’. Gloria’s family does not live close by and she was very pleased when Monica Watson, Caring Communities Officer, visited her and offered her a Volunteer Befriender to visit once per week. Gloria says ‘I look forward to Elizabeth’s visit, we have a laugh’. Gloria would recommend a Volunteer Befriender to anyone who is lonely or socially isolated as it makes such a difference to your day.      

If you feel you could make a difference to an older person’s life by giving up one hour per week to visit someone who is lonely and socially isolated please phone (028) 97 566934 or safeandwell@setrust.hscni.net.

Elizabeth Murphy and Gloria Walsh