The Welcome Friends project consists of two separate schemes; the first runs across the rural county of Pembrokeshire, and the other is based in Rhondda Cynon Taf and Blaenau Gwent. Welcome Friends works to reduce social isolation amongst those over 50s through 1-1 befriending home visits, encouraging people to take up activities or join groups, setting up new social groups, crafting groups of various kinds and volunteering.
Loneliness and isolation cause depression, erode self-confidence and have been recently proven to shorten lives. Welcome Friends improves quality of life for older people by working with them to break down or accommodate the difficulties faced by those who are not out and about, but also add more to those whose lives are manageable.
“Welcome Friends offered me a new life-line after caring for my late partner. It has given me a social life, new friends that led on to new activities and experiences. I became a volunteer to help other lonely people but I have gained so much more.”
Anyone can contact the project to volunteer. Depending on the volunteering role, a DBS check and two references are generally required. Those needing help from the project can self-refer, but if those self-referring have a support worker, social worker, CPN or other, it is really helpful if they can refer on your behalf.
Louisa is a 1-1 befriender. She has volunteered with Welcome Friends in Pembrokeshire for three years and. at the moment, she is visiting two ladies: Stella is an older lady who had become quite isolated due to deterioration in her vision. Not long after Louisa started to visit her, the lady lost her husband and the fact that a volunteer was visiting regularly really helped; she has also been signposted to other services. Janet is in her 50s but with complex mental health problems affecting her ability to live a normal life. Once a week, Louisa and Janet pore over the day’s paper and discuss news and current affairs. This helps Janet feel like she is in contact with the outside world.
“Welcome Friends has meant a great deal to me and I have never looked back. I have mentally and physically improved since having a befriender who takes me out and brings me to social groups.”
Find out more about our Welcome Friends project in your area….
FOR PEMBROKESHIRE CALL 01437 769422 OR EMAIL
FOR BLANEAU GWENT CALL 01495 356743 OR EMAIL
FOR Rhondda Cynon Taf CALL 02920 464004 OR EMAIL