Befriending Volunteers Needed!

Volunteers are urgently needed to help elderly people who are feeling lonely and isolated in Hartlepool.

The appeal comes after Cleveland Fire Brigade was recently commissioned by Hartlepool Borough Council to provide a Befriending Service in the town.

Numbers needing help have doubled over lockdown and more volunteers are now needed for telephone befriending as well as visiting. All activity has been rigourously assessed to keep volunteers and the people they support safe.

Befriending Co-ordinator Pam Cairns said: “We are looking for people who are friendly, outgoing and flexible. No experience is required, you just have to be 18 or over. It is a great opportunity to give something back to your local community. Full training is provided.

“You only need to have an hour or so a week to spare. It is very flexible.”

Following on from referrals from families, friends or other agencies an assessment visit is carried out o match people with volunteers with mutual interests. The Befriending Service is run by the Commissioned Services team at Cleveland Fire Brigade.

Some 71 people are already getting help with more referrals coming in almost every day.

Befriending Coordinator Pam Cairns is available for an informal conversation if you are considering volunteering. Drop her an email at pcairns@clevelandfire.gov.uk or ring the contact number below.

These are just some of the comments from current volunteers.

Moira: “I have two lovely ladies I visit on a weekly basis.  We have lovely chats over a cup of tea and they love to talk about their life experiences.  I feel I give something back to the community.  Befriending has changed my life for the better.”

Martin: ”Befriending isn’t voluntary work, its voluntary fun.  I get so much more back from this than I put in.”

Sheila: “It’s lovely to see or hear someone become physically happier after just a visit or a phone call.  It is very powerful’

To volunteer email befriending@clevelandfire.gov.uk or  ring 01429 873211 or go to www.clevelandfire.gov.uk/community/befriending-service for more information.