MVA has operated a Befriending Programme for well over a year now.
Befriending offers supportive, reliable relationships through volunteer befrienders to people who would otherwise be socially isolated.
Around the UK, there are befriending projects which organise effective support for young people, families, people with mental ill-health, people with learning disabilities and older people, amongst many others.
The results of befriending can be significant. Befriending often provides people with a new direction in life, opens up a range of activities and
leads to increased self-esteem and self confidence. Befriending can also reduce the burden on other services which people may use inappropriately
as they seek social contact.
Normally our Befriending Programme offers a Hub- a non-threatening space with tea, coffee and biscuits, games to play, and other well-being type activities if people want to do more than just chat. We normally help to connect people with activities which are going on in the communities around us; or we provide either one-to-one or telephone befrienders.
Clearly, at the moment we are much more restricted in what we can provide. But we haven’t just forgotten those people we help; we, and our partners at CarersFIRST and Age UK Medway have each got a team of telephone befrienders who will continue to keep in touch in these worrying times.
We’ve also started digital befriending- our virtual groups are available to join every week.
While government restrictions allow, we are also running Park and chat sessions in Parks across Medway, and Coffee sessions in Cafes too
We are taking new referrals to our service too- so if you are aware of someone who is on their own, and perhaps self-isolating, you (or they) can get in touch and we will do our best to help.
We’re also running a digital inclusion pilot- Bridging the Divide. This lends tablets to socially isolated adults in Medway while helping them with a Digital Champion to engage in the digital arena- and hopefully join in some of our zoom chat sessions amongst other things.
Some important things you should know before making a referral to us:
- The key criteria for being eligible for befriending support is that the person being referred is living in isolated circumstances or has little social contact. Other eligibility criteria applies to specific befriending support provided by MVA and its partners, these will be explained to you once we have received your referral.
- Your referral for befriending support will be reviewed by MVA, who will arrange or signpost you to appropriate befriending support. If it is not possible or suitable to arrange befriending support to an individual, MVA will contact the person who made the referral to explain any decisions made and suggest alternative solutions where possible.
- Befriending is not: the carrying out of any personal care, housework, or other domestic tasks. Neither is it the provision of social care, health support or any caring responsibilities.
- If you know someone who might benefit from the befriending support we offer, then a referral form can be completed by
- A referrer (such as a relative, friend, or health or social care worker) – in this situation, the person being referred must be aware of, and have agreed, to the referral; or
- An individual wishing to refer themselves to the befriending scheme
Download Referral Form And Guidance NotesThe referral form can be downloaded from here.
Guidance notes for completing the referral form can be downloaded from here.
Volunteer as a Befriender
If you are interested in volunteering to help us with this service we would be delighted to hear from you. If you already have a DBS check that is fantastic. If not, don’t worry as we can arrange that and all safeguarding and other necessary training to ensure you and our service users are safe and secure.
Please contact Dalia, Louise or Nicola using the details given below.
The application form can be downloaded from here.
Test Bed Fund
The Test Bed Fund offered grants to organisations operating locally in Medway or Swale for the provision of services and activities that seek to strengthen community cohesion through befriending services. It was specifically designed to pilot new and innovative ways of working.
We were looking for:
- New initiatives to be explored/ tested
- Specialised conditions-focussed befriending support
- Locality-based befriending services
- Further development of existing services
- Stimulating local activities
The grantees were as follows. For full details about these please click here.
- Medway Diversity Forum
- South East Gender Initiative
- Swale CVS
- Mess Room
- Nigerian Association
- Swale CAB
- The Octopus Foundation
- Sheppey Matters
- Friendly Faces Of Kent
- wHoo Cares
- Age UK Medway
For more information on any aspects of the Befriending scheme please call Dalia, Louise or Nicola on 01634 564939 or email them at email@example.com.
Many thanks, and stay safe!
“The Friendly Team”