Several befriending groups involved in the coalition will have information stands, as well as volunteers and befrienders on hand to answer questions about volunteering and befriending throughout the day.
A Neighbourhood Care Scheme film will be shown during the afternoon, and tea and cakes will be available as part of the celebration.
Anne Brindley, Older People’s Outreach Worker at The Hop 50+ explained:
“All the members of the Befriending Coalition thought that National Befriending Week would be a great opportunity to tell the wider public about the benefits of befriending. Because it often takes place in people’s homes, it can be an invisible activity. At our Celebration Event, the public will be able to chat with volunteers and the people they visit about their experiences while enjoying tea and cakes.”
Sean de Podesta, the Manager of Impetus Neighbourhood Care Scheme, who is organising the Celebration Event with Anne, added:
“We will also be showing a short film by Anna Dutsch: Remembering Today is about Dorothy, a 91-year-old woman who lives on her own, and her volunteer visitor Judy. Every day, I see the impact that befrienders can have on the people they visit. And I’m sure it’s the same for my colleagues in other befriending schemes. And we see the benefits for the volunteers as well!”
Based on figures from the Campaign to End Loneliness, there are more than 3,500 people aged 65 or over in Brighton & Hove who are lonely all or most of the time.
Brighton & Hove Befriending Coalition was formed in September 2014 to bring together befriending organisations in the city to address the problem of isolation and loneliness. In the last year, the coalition’s fourteen befriending groups have enabled over 600 volunteers to support more than 800 isolated older people, adults with physical and learning disabilities, and people affected by cancer.
Brighton & Hove Befriending Coalition
Local charity Brighton & Hove Impetus brought together the Befriending Coalition in August 2014. There are 18 organisations in the city working to reduce isolation and loneliness through befriending. The Befriending Coalition aims to share knowledge, resources and ideas on befriending so it can reach as many lonely people as possible in Brighton & Hove and the surrounding areas. Its members include:
Hangleton & Knoll Project
Royal Voluntary Service
Time To Talk Befriending
Impetus Neighbourhood Care Scheme
Somerset Day Centre
Aphasia Befriending Service
Grace Eyre Foundation
Stay Up Late
St Vincent de Paul Society
Trust for Developing Communities
East Sussex Association of Blind and Partially Sighted People (ESAB)