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Rachael and Volunteer Kim enjoying an afternoon in the sunshine in the garden

Loneliness is something that we all may come across at some point in our lives, and with help from Volunteers like Kim, this is something that we aim to alleviate. Our Volunteering Manager, Geraldine, caught up with Volunteer Dementia Befriender, Kim, to chat about how her role has made an impact.

What is the most unexpected and enjoyable aspect of your role?

The most enjoyable part is having a good laugh together and brightening up each other’s days. Rachael and I do nice activities together such as singing, going out for coffee, and we have even done an exercise class together!

How would you describe your role?

I view it as being a friend to someone, but with boundaries put in place. The role is easier than I expected, and the relationship builds each time we see or speak to each other.

How have you been supported within your role?

The initial training was comprehensive, but I feel well supported and generally able to raise questions and able to seek further guidance as necessary. The Volunteer Forums are a great way to connect with the other Volunteers and share tips.

Have your clients ever commented to you about the difference it has made to them?

Rachael regularly mentions how happy they are that I have called or visited. She also mentioned that the service has helped her to prevent feeling lonely.

What are the best bits about your role as a Dementia Befriender?

It is very flexible, and it can fit around my personal life and even around my full-time work. Age UK Camden aim to match you with someone local, which is good as it is easy to travel to and you have the local community in common. It is lovely to make a positive difference to someone’s life by being their befriender.

Could you offer befriending and companionship to a socially isolated older person with dementia or memory loss?