A Caring Connection – Befriending Project Success
Caring for somebody, no matter their needs, takes an incredible amount of dedication. Time goes by, things can change, but one thing remains the same – every person on this planet needs support, even those who have dedicated their lives to supporting others.
Derbyshire Carers Association (DCA) is always looking for ways to help to its Carers. But the feeling of being isolated, the feeling of being lonely can feel impossible to overcome, and this seemingly never ending road of separation is walked by many.
“I often forget about me’’ – Carer (Anonymous) Age 85.
“There is still little face-to-face support/activities and many do not feel confident or comfortable always being directed to internet services. These often add to the stress and isolation especially in older carers such as myself.’’ – Carer, P.W. Age 77.
“I contacted Derbyshire Carers feeling emotional, isolated and alone due to my caring role.’’ – Carer (Anonymous) Age 61.
These feelings, abundant and widespread, are shared over the county, throughout the country and all around the world. That’s exactly why Derbyshire Carers Association is continuing to develop its Befriending Service.
The Befriending Project has recently seen yet another round of success, offering a helping hand, a helping heart and, most importantly, a helping voice. The service is simple – a Carer is partnered with a befriender over telephone (wonderful people who have dedicated their time to offering their friendship to those who need it), and from simply picking up the phone, so many Carers have managed to relax their worries of isolation and feel connected once more.
“My befriender doesn’t realise what an impact her calls have made to me. She is lovely and I really appreciate her calls and her kind personality.” – Carer (Anonymous).
“Telephone Befriending has changed my life by giving me something to look forward to each week. I look forward to Friday’s. It’s my space, just for me. I settle down comfortably for my call, with a coffee, ready for a chat and although I’ve never met my telephone befriender I feel like I’ve known her forever and we have a friendship.’’ – Carer (Anonymous).
With a growing number of volunteers and a staggering 1,496 calling hours and counting, The Befriending Project is continuing to help over 70 Carers, all through the power of talking.
But it’s not always easy to take the first steps. Many feel embarrassed and silly. Others feel that they don’t need the help or that they might be a burden. And while it’s easy to understand why, the following words may help to alleviate some of those doubts.
“I have a Befriender, but although I say a Befriender, she is more than that, she is my friend, when the phone rings at 3pm on a Monday, I know that the next 45 minutes are just for me, to chatter with someone who has over the months we have been talking, has become very important to me.
But, when I was asked if I would like to speak to someone, I wasn't sure, I am in my 70's, and like most people my age, I was brought up that talking about 'family' to strangers was a major taboo, but, I had got it wrong, she isn't a counsellor, she is a friend, my friend. To be honest, I wouldn't recognise her if I met her face-to-face, but the minute I hear her say, 'Hellooo lovely’ I hunker down, a cuppa nearby, and just chat, and chat, it's my time with someone who has become an integral part of my life. When we first started to chat, I was amazed at how easy it was to talk to her.
For me, to have my befriender as a friend is a joy, I cannot think how I managed without her calls before, I honestly can't say how long ago we started chatting, because it seems as if she has always been there, at the end of a phone, I don't have any family nearby, and I care for my husband who has dementia, and as I look back over the months of lockdown I know that without my befriender, calling on a Monday, my life would have been so lonely.
I am so glad that I ignored that voice in my head telling me that it was not for me to talk to a stranger, because from that first phone call, my befriender isn't a stranger, she is a friend, a non-judgemental, caring friend, and I can only say thank you to Rachel at Derbyshire Carers Association for encouraging me to try the Befriender Service’’ – Carer, (Anonymous).
It’s amazing what one conversation can do. And it’s incredible how having a friend can change your world.
If you would like any information on our Befriending project or you can offer any time to volunteer for us, please contact Derbyshire Carers Association: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact our Head Office on: 01773 833833