What is Engage Befriending ?
The Engage Befriending Programme matches a volunteer befriender with an older person (55+) in their local community. They meet for approximately an hour a week to engage in conversation and build a positive friendship. This can include a chat over a cup of tea, going on a short trip, do some shopping together or attend an event.
Why is this important?
The risks of isolation and loneliness – the impact of loneliness is well documented. The impact on the individual’s health is as significant as obesity or the same as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day and it also impacts on the long-term cognitive abilities of the individual.
We know that our service users benefit from seeing or speaking to their befriender once a week.
“Such a valuable service. Just seeing someone once a week or so when we wouldn’t usually have much contact, the befriender has been such a support and a good friend.”
We know that there are a number of trigger factors associated with loneliness and isolation that the older person is more likely to experience e.g. bereavement, retirement and illness. Having a listening ear and empathetic befriender can literally give a person a reason to keep going, or at least something to look forward to.
Two key areas being addressed by befriending are:
Increasing a person’s sense of wellbeing
A person’s health and wellbeing are significantly impacted by their sense of loneliness and isolation
Helping people connect with their community
Making connections with the wider community is important in helping combat the sense of isolation.