IF you can spare a couple of hours a week, you could make a huge difference to someone’s life by training to become a volunteer for the re:discover befriending service.
On Thursday 25 July, Scottish charity Health in Mind is hosting a free training day (with lunch) from 10am until 4pm at the Addaction Rooms, 125 High Street, Galashiels.
Julia Flockhart is the support and development worker running the re:discover befriending service in the Scottish Borders and she understands how easy it is for people to become isolated within their community.
“You can lose your zest for life and feel isolated for many reasons such as illness, losing a family member or being made redundant.
“It can then become hard to leave the house, so friendships drift and the increasing and continued isolation can lead to mental health difficulties such as depression and anxiety,” said Julia.
Once the training is completed, a volunteer will be able to help the person they are matched with, with more opportunities for social contact; support in building relationships with others; encouragement to take part in local activities or groups; encourage them to pick up old hobbies and interests and discover new ones. The re:discover Borders befriending service matches last from six months to a year.
Julia continued: “The volunteer and their match will spend time together each week and may go out for coffee, attend a new group, use public transport or visit the gym; gradually building the confidence and social network of the person they support.”
The re:discover befriending service started in the Scottish Borders some years ago and currently has 12 volunteers. One of them is Richard, who is 48 and lives in the Galashiels area.
Richard commented: “I was drawn to the volunteering role as I really like helping people and I enjoyed the training.
“I was matched with a really ‘good guy’ and over the weeks, it’s been great to see him gaining confidence and becoming chattier.
“We’ve both enjoyed going to the cinema and discussing the films we’ve seen as well as playing chess on the computer, which is brilliant and as we’re both interested in history, we’re making the most of the summer weather by getting out and about to visit quite a few castles.”
As the person taking the project forward, Julia has seen how the service has developed as both volunteers and service user as comfortable making suggestions.
“The participation and influence of both our volunteers and service users ensures the service continues to grow.”
To book your training place, contact Julia Flockhart on 01896 750 983 or 0131 225 8505.
For further information contact Doreen Graham, Health in Mind communications manager on 0131 225 0137 or Julia Flockhart on 01896 750 983 or 0131 225 8505 or mobile 0776 075 3029.
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Contact: Doreen Graham