Happy Befriending Week! ?
This week we are joining Befriending Networks in sharing and celebrating all things befriending.
The hashtag for Befriending Week celebrations this year is #befriendingls and what is befriending to the young people we support? It is a trustworthy, reliable, caring and friendly volunteer befriender. Giving their time to make a real difference in local young peoples lives, by being their for them.
Words from a befriender
“Being a Befriender has enriched my world and certainly given me hours and hours of pleasant experiences; enabling me to interact with young people in a positive way for them and myself. You also have fun. A win-win situation.”
Tell us, what is befriending to you?
As not all of our Befrienders are currently able to meet with their young person face to face, here is a lovely example of how one befriender has found a way to keep in regular contact during these restrictive times.
Having met with Peter pretty much every week for more than eighteen months the lockdown in March had a huge impact our arrangements. This was the same for everyone and affected all aspects of our home and family lives as well as friendships.
I felt it was important to maintain that weekly contact and because Peter had responded positively to postcards I’d sent from holidays I opted to write to him. There are several advantages to letters, they can be diaries, a keepsake, read and re-read.
Peter is a very practical boy and likes to make things eg videos or Lego models or even a cup of tea so our face to face meetings were a mixture of chatting and doing something. So, I thought a weekly letter detailing things that I had been doing that week would best copy this approach. They are usually two or three pages long and the text is interspersed with photos showing my activities.
Besides talking about both of our hobbies or my various jobs around the house and garden or craft ideas I always try to give Peter some positive encouragement. Earlier on it was helping him cope with the lockdown and more recently his return to school.
I have to say that our correspondence is pretty one-sided but I do receive the odd text message and the occasional e-mail (with photographs of Peter’s projects). These along with a chance meeting in a supermarket or by talking to mutual acquaintances I manage to keep up to date with how Peter is coping. And the news is good. Apart from a couple of minor hiccups I hear he is settling in well at his new school.
Because of the very rural nature of the family’s location Peter and I are not yet able to meet up as we did before so our letters carry on. Twenty-eight and counting.