I read an article once about an elderly woman who had one conversation throughout an entire month. To her dentist. One conversation in a month. It broke my heart. I knew right then that I wanted to start volunteering with the elderly in some way.
I did some googling and came across Time to Talk Befriending (TTTB) a charity based in Brighton. TTTB started as a grassroots project back in 2012 and became a small charity in November 2014. With steady growth, they now support over 300 older members! The age range is from 75 – 104 years old!
I am a volunteer befriender and I absolutely love it! The process begins with an application form and two-character references. Then, an informal interview for you to find out more and for them to get to know you a little better. After this, you have a DBS check, an induction and you’re ready to be matched!
TTTB is wonderful at matching you with someone who has similar interests to you. For example, the lovely lady I am matched with likes cats and photography – two of my favourite things! At first, you visit your new friend with a member of the TTTB team to see if you get along. If it goes well, regular visits can begin!
We spend time together drinking cups of tea, talking about our families, discussing our favourite breeds of cat and more! Time is such an easy thing you can give someone and I love listening to the wonderful stories from her life.
In old age, there are two key factors to maintaining good health. Keeping active and maintaining friendships. Befriending an older person on a weekly or fortnightly basis helps them stay connected, and research shows it has a lasting positive difference to people’s lives.
I’m absolutely loving being a volunteer befriender and if you can spare the time, I would really recommend it. It’s a wonderful way to make a new friend! If you’d like to find out more information about Time to Talk Befriending and everything they do, here’s their website. If you’d like to find out more about volunteering with them, you can do that here.
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