"You've got a friend in me!"
Our volunteer buddies project has been in progress for a while now, but of course, COVID threw a spanner in the works. However, with a lot of hard work and planning, our volunteer buddies have now begun meeting with clients. We often see our clients struggling with their confidence, limiting their social contact and slowing their ability to move forward. Having someone to meet up with, chat to, and just generally have a bit of fun with can make so much difference to someone’s outlook on life.
This is where our volunteer buddy project comes in. Our volunteer buddies are carefully matched up with a suitable client who would benefit from their companionship. Each pairing then comes up with a plan, taking into account what the client would like to achieve with their buddy. Some people may just want someone to talk to and get a different perspective, whereas some may be looking to learn a new skill with someone by their side. Some buddies may help with seeking employment, through job hunting, CV writing, and job interview techniques. We want our buddies and clients to have fun, from meeting up for a coffee or walk in the park, going to the cinema or for lunch, or even taking part in outdoor adventures together!
Of course, the most important part of the buddy’s project is for our clients to build a strong, trusting relationship with another person. For some clients, this can be really difficult and not every pairing gets off to a flying start. Nonetheless, our Volunteer Coordinator Emma, our Pathways Team, and our buddies ensure that those clients who require a little more time and patience still get the support they need.
Jo and Paul
Volunteer buddy Jo was matched up with Paul a few weeks ago. When asked about the experience so far, Jo said "becoming Paul’s buddy gives me this incredible opportunity to share my time with someone who may need it at this point of their lives. It feels so simple but also important to be there, to meet, talk and listen."
Paul wrote: "I enjoy having Jo as my buddy because Jo helps me to be me and makes me feel at ease. I enjoy having Jo to talk to because it helps me to be myself."
How lovely is that?!