Time to Talk Befriending
They have a cohesive range of projects that enable their members to choose the option that best suits them.
Their core service has grown from initial small grassroots pilots that they have honed and adapted in response to feedback from members, volunteers and partners. They currently offer a package of:
- One to one matched befriending: Over 520 older people currently matched with community volunteers for friendship, laughter and quality time together.
- Group peer befriending: conversation and refreshments supported and hosted by young volunteers including sixth formers from a local school and in partnership with local churches. Over 100 older people regularly use the group peer befriending which provides transport, reminders and support to enable members to leave their homes safely.
- Telephone befriending: developed in response to the pandemic now a core part of the service offer for older people experiencing loneliness.
- Partnerships with nurseries and schools: including a joint project with pre-schoolers and older members through a partnership with Forest School ‘’Great Oaks and Little Acorns”. The beginning of a new theme ‘Time to Talk Nature’, to grow the environmental wellbeing strand of work, encouraging older members into the outdoors with their support.
- Signposting: tapping members into what exists already in their neighbourhoods and, when needed, helping them to access additional support. They now have over 50 local and specialist organisations that they refer members to with their agreement. They also help older people who are identified as being victims of SCAM fraud by reporting the crime and supporting them during and after the process.
- Seasonal events including their annual ‘Holiday at Home’ for older people who can no longer go on holiday due to limiting health conditions or lack of funds. They also provide a series of events for those alone during the festive seasons including a meal and visit on Christmas Day, as well as hosting a Christmas Lunch with a local school.
- Intensive community consultation so the work is driven by the voice of older people. They have an active programme of local community consultations aiming to reach older people so they can influence, direct and inform them of their issues.
- Enhanced befriending specialising in supporting older people living with dementia and equipping the volunteers who befriend them with resources, training and supervision.
- Chaplaincy specialising in meeting the spiritual needs of members as well as providing end of life support.
- Volunteers receive training every 4-6 weeks including on; the ageing process, valuing age, loneliness, communication, boundaries, confidentiality, safeguarding including SCAM fraud using case studies and the video from Operation Signature, bereavement and loss, and the positives of befriending.