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26 April 2017

Make an Older Person’s Day a little less lonely – become a Volunteer Befriender

Social isolation and loneliness are emerging as two of the major issues affecting an older person’s health wellbeing and independence. The Caring Communities Safe & Well Service aims to address these issues by providing information, signposting and advice on a range of services that will enable an older person to live safely and independently at home. The Caring Communities Safe & Well Service offers an older person a Volunteer Befriender to visit for a chat and companionship one hour per week. The service covers the areas of Newtownards & North Down, Lisburn and Down. Currently the service needs 84 Volunteer Befrienders to visit socially isolated and lonely older people across the area.


Mary was born in a small village in County Cavan; she trained as a nurse in England and worked in a fever hospital for children which she thoroughly enjoyed. When Mary married she moved to live in Belfast.  Mary had two lovely daughters and the following years were busy raising her family. Mary eventually moved to the country to be close to family, but with family working full time she spends long days on her own. Mary enjoys reading especially detective stories. Mary was referred to the Caring Communities Safe & Well service for someone to befriend her to make the long days a little less lonely. Monica Watson, Caring Communities Officer, suggested to Mary that Hannah would been keen to be her befriender and Mary agreed to give it a try.  Mary says she loves seeing Hannah in fact Mary says ‘Hannah’s great, she cheers me up, she lifts me up to the moon.’ 


Hannah had some free time, especially on the weekend. Her boyfriend who works for the South Eastern HSC Trust told her that Caring Communities Safe & Well were recruiting befrienders to visit an older person at home. Hannah felt she would like to do something nice, especially as she has no grandmother who lives close to her. Hannah has found the Volunteer Befriending experience very rewarding. Hannah says ‘I have learnt a lot from Mary, she is very uplifting and such a nice person to spend time with.’  Hannah is really enjoying her befriending role and feels that the organization has made her feel important. She would recommend becoming a Volunteer Befriender with Caring Communities Safe & Well.

The Caring Communities Safe & Well Service are delighted that Mary and Hannah are enjoying their befriending experience. The Caring Communities Safe & Well Service wishes to take this opportunity to thank Hannah for becoming a Volunteer Befriender.    

The South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust Caring Communities Safe & Well Service is currently seeking Volunteer Befrienders in Ards & North Down, Lisburn and Down. If you are inspired by Mary and Hannah’s story and have one to two hours a week that you could spare to make an older person day less lonely then please contact Caring Communities Safe & Well on Tel: 028 97566934.

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