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Recognising the Contribution of Volunteers During Befriending Week

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Recognising the Contribution of Volunteers During Befriending Week

Befriending Week takes place 1-7 November throughout the UK, raising awareness of befriending and the impact it has on individuals and communities in helping combat feelings of isolation and loneliness.  This year, with the impact of Covid19 and with current restrictions leaving many vulnerable people isolated, the Campaign will be shining the spotlight on services and individuals and sharing what befriending means to them.

Volunteer Now is encouraging people to take a moment and think about the invaluable contribution made by volunteers throughout Northern Ireland who are involved in befriending projects and the difference they make to so many individuals especially in these uncertain and challenging times.

For many years, Volunteer Now has been involving volunteers in a Befriending and Driving scheme which supports isolated older people in Belfast.  The services, delivered by volunteers, provide a couple of hours a week of friendship, encouragement or transport and make a huge impact on the health and well-being of the service users.

Denise Hayward, Chief Executive, Volunteer Now, explains:

“During the current pandemic and social distancing, we have faced, like many organisations, huge issues in delivering these services.  However, our volunteers where appropriate and adhering to health and safety guidelines have managed to continue to offer their time through telephone befriending, shopping and essential driving.

We know that these roles carried out so selflessly by volunteers have made such a difference to our service users and we would like to say a huge thank you to each and every one of them.”

Lindsay Armstrong, Community Projects Manager, Volunteer Now said:

“Volunteer Now co-ordinates the Befriending Network which is focused on bringing together organisations providing or wanting to provide a befriending service for people with many different needs, sensory impairment, disability, mental ill health and challenges that older age can bring.  People may become socially isolated for a variety of reasons.  It could be lack of family contact, loss of a loved one or through ill-health or disability but a volunteer befriender or driver can be a life-changer to many people.  Providing friendship by calling for a chat breaks the monotony of another day spent alone at home.

During Befriending Week Volunteer Now is delighted to have this opportunity to thank all volunteers and organisations involved in the wide variety of befriending services throughout Northern Ireland.”

Do you have a couple of hours to spare each week?  Would you like to make friends and change lives?  To find out more about befriending in the Belfast area contact Victoria.O’Neill@volunteernow.co.uk or 028 9023 2020.  To see the wide range of other volunteering opportunities available throughout Northern Ireland go to the ‘Search’ facility on www.volunteernow.co.uk.

If you would like to find out more about Befriending, we are running a 2 hour online workshop on 10 November, 2-4pm.  To find out more, please click here.

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