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Befriender volunteers required

Published on 15 October 2021 01:03 PM

We are looking for befriender volunteers to join our team as telephone befrienders to volunteer their time to help older people living alone in Essex.

Our befriending service supports many older people living across Essex who may be feeling lonely or socially isolated. Volunteers make weekly calls to their regular callers to check in with them and have a weekly catch up. 

Here's what some of our volunteers say about being a befriender

Irene

"Many of the people I ring don't see anyone other than carers. I speak to 12 people each week and the majority of them are housebound and as old as 92. It's a great way to start my week as I tend to make all my calls on a Monday morning."

Irene first volunteered as a befreinder when she retired from her job at the NHS 3 years and was getting a little bored by not working.

"I've got to know some of the people I call really well, as well as their families too. Some calls might be 20 minutes long where as others are me just checking in with them so are much shorter. They always say thank you at the end of every call which gives me such a lovely feeling."

Irene used to come into the office before covid but now makes all her calls from home. She gets reimbursed by Age UK Essex for any costs. 

"I live on my own so it's nice for me to have the interaction I have with my callers. Jodie, the befriending coordinator is so welcoming and lovely. I send her a text or call her each week to let her know how they're all doing. It's a really satisfying and rewarding thing to do each week and I'd recommend it to anyone that has the time to spare."

Become a befriender volunteer

Find out more and apply to become a befriender volunteer

Ellie

"I love it. I love talking to people."

Ellie was made redundant in 2012 so decided to fill her time by volunteering. She started out making home visits to two ladies. 

"I would go and visit a lady who lived in a tower block of flats in Grays. She was bedbound. Her daughters lived away so I would often be her only visitor other than carers. Over the years I've met all her children and grandchilden, they class me as part of the family. Now I can only make phone calls but I still speak to her every week. It's been 9 years so she's become a friend. She's still in her flat looking out from her bed."

"It's so important to reach out and look after these people. They've spent all their lives bringing up their families but now they've moved on they need people like the befriending team to step in. It brings me so much joy and happiness to do what I do."

Lockdown, as we all know, has been very hard especially for older people. 

"Being a befriender has been a lifesaver during lockdown. I'm on my own so I know what it's like not to talk to anyone. And the people I speak to have never need it more. Some of them are such characters ... one of my men sings to me. Being a befriender volunteer has really helped me through troubled times."

Become a befriender volunteer

Find out more and apply to become a befriender volunteer