With over 5 million elderly people living on their own, and 50% citing television as their main source of company, loneliness is an ever-present problem within our community (Campaign To End Loneliness).
Cyril Flint, an elderly pensioner living on his own in the Trafford area, was a classic example of one such individual. Having spent 20 lonely Christmas holidays on his own, since the passing of his wife, Cyril’s story not only evoked a wave of compassion within the community, but it also made us want to do something to help. Setting up an informal befriending service, designed to help prevent social isolation, seemed like the perfect solution. Since its creation, our scheme has grown throughout the Manchester area and we now have an increasing number of active volunteers throughout the community.
Befriending in action
Cyril Flint is an established befriending service that currently covers Manchester and Trafford. We rely on Volunteers to spend an hour a week to visit a person (usually in their own home) befriending a person on a regular one-to-one basis. This may be someone who lives alone who has little or no contact from friends and family with limited community support. Knowing someone is popping in once a week can make a huge difference.
Befriending is a distinct type of support which is different from the practical or functional day to day support provided by the statutory services or other paid workers, who are under a professional obligation.
Typical visit activities
Our volunteers will pop round, maybe for a brew and a chat and just like a true friend will always take time to listen to their Befriendee and share life’s ups and downs. Befriendee’s often find that as their new friendship grows, their confidence returns and they may feel more comfortable getting out in the community, (perhaps with their volunteer’s support). We have seen some fabulous and long term friendship’s develop and flourish and are very keen to make lots more!