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Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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SEATON: Befriending service to help stop social isolation
Friday, 07 February 2014
A new service will help lonely and isolated people in and around Seaton.
Seaton and District Hospital League of Friends has created a befriending service in response to an increasing number of referrals - mainly from health and social care professionals.
The befriending service aims to alleviate social isolation and improve the health and wellbeing of people in Seaton and surrounding villages who may be feeling lonely and isolated for a variety reasons.
These can include ill health, bereavement, life changes, being housebound, having limited social contact or lack of family and friends nearby.
League manager, Lycia Moore, said: “We receive a high volume of referrals and I would like to provide an important lifeline in the form of a volunteer befriender to support everyone referred to the service within as short a time as possible; as a result, we are looking to recruit additional volunteers to help deal with the demand.
“Befrienders are needed to visit people in their own homes once a week for a friendly chat over a coffee, or to give support to isolated people by helping them to go out for walks or to local groups and activities.
“Helping the lonely and isolated people within our community is very important to us, but we can’t do it without the kind support and dedication of local volunteers.
“The role of befriender is very fulfilling and rewarding, and you will be making a real difference by helping to develop trusting and helpful relationships.
“Volunteers are not asked to do any personal care, domestic or medical tasks.
“The service is all about social contact as a means of improving the day to day life of the individual.
“Over the last few weeks, in addition to providing vital companionship, our befrienders have helped support their friends in many practical ways, such as writing Christmas cards for a partially sighted person and people with severe arthritis in their hands, also reading Christmas cards and helping to display them where they can be seen and enjoyed.
“In the cold weather befrienders, checked up on their ‘friends’ to make sure they were well and keeping warm.”
All expenses incurred whilst volunteering are paid for by the league.
Volunteers are encouraged to attend regular coffee mornings to meet fellow volunteers, to receive additional training and also to have the opportunity to share experiences and provide general support for one another.
Lycia added: “In addition to our one-to-one befriending service and our monthly Friends in the Community Group, we are looking at providing other social groups, to enable people to reconnect with the community through activities that interest them.
“These groups may include a lunch club, singing and music group, bingo, scrabble and board games and seated exercise including yoga.”
If you would like to know more, contact Lycia Moore on 01297 20143, 07939 362069 or email seatonLOF@nhs.net
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