The St Catherine’s Befriending Service supports people with an incurable condition and their loved ones in their own homes by offering:
- Social activities
- Respite breaks for carers
It is managed by the hospice’s Support Team but led by a team of fully-trained volunteers who give their time for free for a role which they find so rewarding.
True friendships are formed as we work to match befriender with befriendee according to their personalities, interests and experiences.
Befrienders visit for up to four hours each week, providing companionship and social interaction; the chance to take part in hobbies or outings; and giving carers the opportunity to take a break. This can simply be for some ‘me time’ which is vital when working as a carer, but also so they can carry out important jobs such as visiting the doctor or dentist themselves.
It’s important to note that befrienders do not carry out any personal care, moving or handling or domestic duties. The role is not intended to replace any nursing or domiciliary care services – but has a focus on supporting patient and loved ones’ emotional well-being, which in turn can improve physical health.
Who is it for?
The Befriending Service is targeted at those with a life-shortening condition who are mainly housebound and socially isolated. It does not matter whether they are already known to the hospice or not.
The service began as a service supporting carers, but was later extended to include those living alone with a palliative diagnosis. This was in a bid to tackle the isolation that some people can feel when they are living with an incurable condition.
What is a befriender?
Befrienders are volunteers who come from all walks of life with a desire to make a difference to people at a very poignant time in their lives. They undergo a comprehensive training programme delivered by the hospice, and have received checks from the Disclosure and Barring Service.
The befriender visits their befriendee in their home at prearranged times. Visits can involve conversation, games, outings or simply being there for those who are living alone or when their carer is out. All of our befrienders have access to support and supervision to ensure they feel confident and capable in their roles, and get the most out of this rewarding position.
If you or a loved one could benefit from our befriending service, please contact our Support Team: 01772 629171 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
Could I be a volunteer befriender?
Our volunteer befrienders are:
• Good communicators
• Good listeners
• Accepting of others
• Experienced in supporting people with physical disabilities and/or life-limiting illnesses
If you think you could help us reach more people who need us in the community, we’d love to hear from you!
Please contact the Support Team on 01772 629171 or email email@example.com to find out more.