Back in March 2020 during the first lockdown, Volunteer Centre Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde worked closely with Blackpool Council’s Corona Kindness to offer befriending calls to connect with those most in need of social contact. After securing funding from Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by National Lottery Community Fund and rebranding as the BFriend Project we are able to continue this service and reach more people in need of a friend to address the ongoing demand.
Lending a friendly sympathetic ear can go a long way. It can be a chance for both BFriendees and BFrienders to find a friend for life.
BFriender Elaine said “sometimes they cheer me up just as much as I cheer them up.”
A weekly chat from one of our volunteers might be the only contact someone can have all week. Loneliness and social isolation represent a very significant threat to health and are important risk factors for a wide range of mental and physical health problems including depression, high blood pressure, sleep problems, and, in older people, reduced immunity and cognition in older people. Encouraging people to pursue their hobbies and to exercise can drastically improve someone’s mental and physical health. Volunteers and Befriendees may even find that they share the same hobbies and interests. Bfriending services also relieves pressure on other services.
“The work that the Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde Volunteer Centre have undertaken to support our community with the very real and damaging impact of social isolation has been invaluable and we hear often that people have really valued the regular, meaningful contact that they have been able to provide. I am delighted that they are able to strengthen this service and know that it will benefit so many people now and into the future” – Neil Jack – Chief Executive Officer, Blackpool Borough Council
Are you interested in becoming a volunteer BFriender?
Do you or does someone you know need a BFriender?
Email BFriend@blackpoolvolunteers.org.uk to find out more about the project and how you can be part of it.