I’m currently volunteering with the Volunteer Centre Kensington and Chelsea as a Telephone Befriender, I have been doing this for 8 months.
I call my befriending clients weekly, for a chat of between twenty minutes and fifty minutes, depending on their needs. We talk about their week, how they are feeling at the moment, and anything at all which they would like to discuss. I provide a listening ear and support if things are difficult, and we also chat about things which are more upbeat and inspiring to them. Often clients have been experiencing difficulties in life which led to increased isolation, and just having a friendly conversation can make a big difference to their week.
I have found befriending profoundly rewarding, and greatly enjoyed building connections with my clients. The Wellbeing project at the Volunteer Centre Kensington and Chelsea provides a high level of friendly, responsive support for volunteers, which underpins the support I offer my clients.
I started out befriending as a university placement for my psychology degree. I chose to befriend rather than other options, as I felt that it was a very direct way to connect with people who may have experienced increased loneliness, especially considering Covid restrictions. It felt important to be able to reach out on a personal level and connect with others after such an isolating period.
Being a volunteer befriender is personally meaningful and fulfilling. I have felt privileged to get to know clients, and develop trusting relationships with them, and also grateful to feel I am doing something of value. Befriending truly benefits both parties, and it is inspiring to feel part of a caring community.
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Do you have a learning or physical disability, or mental health needs? Our Wellbeing project can help you to find volunteering opportunities within Kensington & Chelsea. Find out more.