VOLUNTEERS: A call for ‘buddies’

I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the News Post Leader for publishing such a positive and heart-warming article about the Northumberland Befriending Service, provided by the Alzheimer’s Society (September 10).

It was good to read about Doreen Davison’s experience with her befriending ‘buddy’ and to realise that the service can make such a difference to the life of someone who is living with dementia.

There are so many positive benefits to a service such as this one, for example, staying involved with interests and activities can bring enjoyment and pleasure.

By remaining involved and active, a person with dementia can maintain their skills and independence for longer. Participating in enjoyable activities will increase the amount of social interaction for a person, thereby reducing isolation and promoting a sense of belonging to the community.

Staying active can help people to express how they are feeling and relieve the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

The befriending team is keen to promote the service whenever and wherever it can. Not only do we want to promote the service to people with dementia and their families, but we also want to get the word out to anyone who would be interested in helping us as a volunteer befriender.

We desperately need more volunteers to help us. At the moment we have a waiting list of people who would like to be matched with a volunteer befriender. In particular, we would like more men to come forward as a volunteer as we have several gentlemen who are specifically requiring a male befriender. We provide full training and support to all our volunteers before they start.

If you think you could commit to giving a couple of hours a week on a regular basis to help someone living with dementia to continue with hobbies or activities they enjoy then we would love to hear from you.

Please call our Northumberland office on (01670) 813255 to find out more.

Suzanne Johnstone

Volunteering Officer,

Northumberland Befriending Service

Alzheimer’s Society