Combatting loneliness through our befriending programme
The pandemic made us realise the impact that loneliness can have on our mental health, but feelings of loneliness and isolation continue to be all too real for many people in our community. Not surprisingly, therefore, we are seeing increasing numbers of people looking for support with their mental health. Volunteering is a great way to get involved and meet new people.
Our volunteers are part of a vibrant and mutually supportive community that places huge importance on fostering a sense of caring and belonging. At Jami, we greatly value the time, energy and commitment from our incredible volunteers, who make invaluable contributions to the work we do to support people struggling with their mental health.
In return, we offer regular support and check-ins, either one-to-one or in a group setting, as well as networking, thank-you events, and access to Jami’s education and training programme, which places emphasis on lived experience and peer support.
One of the ways that we are actively tackling loneliness is through the Compeer befriending programme. Compeer is Jami’s in-house befriending service, which aims to reduce loneliness and isolation through regular phone calls or meet-ups in the community with a Compeer volunteer. Feeling connected with people and to the community around us helps to support and promote better physical and mental wellbeing. Through a one-to-one match, Compeer volunteering seeks to combine friendship with practical support to increase social connections and promote independence and recovery.
Stephen, one of our Compeer volunteers, says: “Loneliness burdens so many lives. Having a regular friendly chat with someone can lighten that burden. It gives a lonely person something to look forward to as well as to enjoy. As a befriender, you make a significant difference to a lonely person by raising their spirits.”
Befriending has many benefits for each party in the Compeer match. While the person seeking support is able to rediscover old hobbies, explore new interests and reconnect with the community, our volunteers benefit from learning new skills, getting to know their match and other compeer volunteers, and having access to new training opportunities.
Our Compeer volunteers can provide a safe space to share and to build a meaningful and reciprocal relationship. Whether it’s a coffee and a chat, a walk in the park or a trip to the cinema, our volunteers’ support can make the world of difference.
If you would like to get involved in volunteering at Jami, please take a look at our website for more information at: https://jamiuk.org/get-involved/volunteering/