Between 2003 and 2009, I was living in supported accommodation for people with physical and mental disabilities. Unfortunately I wasn’t receiving the support I needed from my key workers: I became very ill, bed bound and increasingly isolated.

Eventually, I was moved to private accommodation in Camden, and a support worker signposted me to Volunteering Matters. I was contacted by two volunteers from Befriending  Matters, a volunteer project that delivers a telephone befriending service at a crucial time for me as I was in real need of support.

It has been a slow process, learning how to trust someone I had never met before over the phone. I found that it was really a blessing because I was able to talk about issues I couldn’t discuss with my husband, family or friends. This has had an enormous impact on my life: my mental health has improved as a result of being able to talk through my problems with another person in the community.

I can now talk openly and honestly, make better choices, and address my mental health issues. I now have more self confidence and this has helped me to try new things such as speaking in public: e.g. sharing my experience at the Volunteering Matters conference. I have also achieved my goal of getting a one bedroom flat through Camden Housing Options and, through continued encouragement, find myself stronger and in a better place both physically and mentally.

The Befriending Matters programme through the Citywise project at Volunteering Matters brings people together from all walks of life – it’s an opportunity to discuss common issues that affect all in the community during these difficult times. I have found the experience empowering, and am happy to be able to give back to the community through helping other people.

I’m still in touch with my volunteer befriender. She has been instrumental in helping me to realise one of my goals by creating an artist webpage for me and we have become very good friends.

Thank you Volunteering Matters for your continued support!

Please note that London Befriending Project offers a befriending service across London. The service can be telephone-based, or it can involve visits at home, in hospitals or in care home settings.