Friday, 19 June 2015

Happy Hours!

As blogged about by our fellow Bearwood bloggers, We Are Bearwood (check out their great website right here!),  St Albans charity have an ideal way for you to spend some very happy hours.

"Thank you for setting me up with someone so genuine and thankful. She’s made a big difference to my life’.  Volunteer, St Albans Befriending Project
How would you like to feel like this, just from volunteering a couple of hours a week? If you think you would enjoy spending 1-2 hours per week with a new friend who is usually isolated, read on.  A Smethwick based charity called St Albans is currently looking for new volunteers to help bring support and happiness to people in our area.

What is St Albans?
You can read all about them on their website – basically they are a Smethwick based charity that provides pre-school support for 3-5 year olds, a befriending service,  lunch club and advice services – and lots more besides, by the sound of it.

What’s the befriending project?
There are many people in Bearwood, Smethwick, West Brom and Oldbury who spend long periods of time on their own with no-one to talk to or no support to go out and about. 

At We Are Bearwood, we know this is an issue for people of different ages (and we’re currently researching what we can do about it).  At St Albans their focus is on people aged 55 and over.

They are looking for volunteers who are over 16 who think they could spare a couple of hours a week. 

 When we asked the Louise, Befriending Project Coordinator for more information, she explained all about the support that is given to volunteers:

Volunteers just have to get in touch with us and we’ll invite them for a discussion where they can fill in a short application form. They need to provide 2 references and we sort out a DBS police check and then we can provide a little bit of training about roles and responsibilities (for example, befrienders are NOT carers – they are, simply, friends!).
We are careful to match up the volunteers with the older people, depending on mutual interests (such as crafts or places they like to visit).  If a match is made the first visit is never alone and we check in every week with both people to make sure they are comfortable and happy with their match.
Some people like to just sit and natter, others share a hobby or like visiting garden centres, cafes or going on walks.  It’s lovely to hear about friendships developing that are mutually rewarding – especially between younger and older people.

Over time St Albans also offer optional training courses to volunteers, like a more in-depth training about how to support vulnerable adults, disability awareness (where you might be challenged to make a cup of tea with a blindfold on!) and how to spot safety issues in homes such as a dodgy cable or an overloaded socket.
There’s lots of evidence now about how volunteering can really improve volunteers’ own sense of happiness and wellbeing, as well as be really valuable to the person you’re supporting.

So if you have a couple of hours you can squeeze in to your schedule and you like the sound of the support you’d be given, why not give Louise a call and find out a little bit more about it?"

You can contact Louise by:
Tel: 0121 558 0018

You can also follow the work of St Albans on Facebook  and on Twitter @StAlbansComm

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