Loneliness is a hard thing to talk about. And while no one wants to think of themselves as being lonely, it can be hard for people to admit that they need someone to talk to and break the monotony of their day.
St Luke’s Befriending service tackles the problem of loneliness by engaging with and organising volunteers to regularly visit isolated members of the community, providing them with emotional support, companionship and a link to the wider community.
Trained volunteer befrienders are matched with people based on similar interests, hobbies and passions. The befriender visits on a regular basis, usually once a week, to have a chat and simply be a friendly face and someone to talk to.
For Pete November from Alsager, the impact the service has had on his life is huge. He cares for his wife, Linda, who has MS and is sadly bed-bound the majority of the time.
“The Befriending Service is a branch for me and an important part of my week, and my befriender Jacquie has become part of the family! There are times when it’s great to hear news and have conversations with someone different; it is a big help to me and something I always look forward to.”
As well as the befriending, Pete and Linda have also welcomed one year old Cavapoo, Holly into their lives. “Holly gives me a reason to leave the house; it’s amazing how many people you meet when I take her for a walk, she has given me purpose again.”
St Luke’s Befriending Co-ordinator in Alsager is Lauren Godfrey, she said: “Pete’s a real advocate of befriending. Jacquie does it because she wants to and she has a lovely bond with him. It’s lovely to watch the friendship flourish; it has gone from being instigated by St Luke’s to a natural friendship and that’s the whole point. I am certain that they will remain friends for a long time.”
St Luke’s is always looking for more Befrienders, we currently offer Befriending across all the areas we support as a Hospice. For more information on how to become a Befriender please contact Catherine Holligan. Catherine is our Befriending Co-ordinator Email Catherine or simply call 07496 073430/01606 555687.