Mental Health Matters Wales provides a Befriending project in the Bridgend County Borough that supports older people over 50 years of age and who maybe experiencing emotional and/or mental health related problems or have a learning disability to access social, leisure, educational and back to work opportunities
The Befriending Coordinator or Facilitator will asses the needs of the person who wants to be part of the befriending and mentoring service and will match them to a befriender (volunteer) based on compatibility. Over the first few visits the befriending facilitator will be present to offer support to both the befriender and the person who wants to be part of the Befriending and mentoring service.
The befriender is not a medical professional, a social/support worker, a taxi service, a counsellor or a friend
What does the befriender do?
Befrienders will help to promote personal choice, increase self-respect, support existing personal skills and the development of new opportunities.
Befrienders visit people in their own homes or in the community to provide companionship, support and help to rekindle interest in things by undertaking activities for example, social, leisure and educational.
Activities are negotiated between the person who is befriended and the befriender. Typical activities include:-
Meeting for a coffee
Going for walks
Going to the cinema
Visiting for a chat
How long does the befriending relationship last?
The befriending relationship is not expected to last for more than six months. However; If at the end of this period the befriending facilitator feel further support is required, it can extend to a maximum of 12 months.
After 12 months, the Befriending relationship will end. It is acknowledged that in some cases these relationships become normal friendships. However; Mental Health Matters Wales are no longer involved after the 12 month period.
The Befriending facilitator will monitor the relationship by way of regular reviews to ensure that both the person being befriended and the befriender are happy within the relationship.
Prior to the befriending relationship ending, the befriending coordinator will ask the person who was befriended to complete a questionnaire about their experience of the service. This will ensure that the service meets the needs of those being befriended and help shape the service for others.
The Befriending and Mentoring Project is not able to:
provide services which are the responsibility of the statutory sector
carry out any personal care, housework or other domestic tasks
undertake caring responsibilities
provide a counselling service
The Befriending Project is for those who are:
Aged over 50
Have mental health related problems
Have a learning disability
Reside in the Borough of Bridgend
Are living in isolated circumstances or with little social contact
How long is the waiting list?
As the project is new, it is difficult to identify how long someone referred will have to wait for a befriender as we try to match clients and volunteers depending on their interests and personalities.
Some may wait only a matter of weeks; some may wait for a number of months. But we will do our best to match those referred with the most appropriate befriender as soon as possible.
About our Befrienders
All befrienders (volunteers) attend induction training courses to help them to understand their role. Training is also provided around attitudes and values, mental health and learning disabilities and health and safety.
We ask that the befriender commit a minimum of 2 hours per week over the period of the befriending/mentoring relationship.
All befriendersí are formally interviewed and Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checked before they are allowed to undertake any befriending and mentoring activities.
Befriendersí receive ongoing support and supervision, and the project is closely monitored.
Who funds the Project?
The Befriending and Mentoring Project is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and is a free service
What if I have a complaint about the Project?
Mental Health Matters Wales has a complaints procedure which the befriended person will be provided with in the event of any complaint and if requested will be supported by an independent person to complete the form.
Interested in the Project?
If you wish to make a self referral, or refer on behalf of somebody else please download and complete a referral form from HERE for Self referral or HERE for Agency Referral and send to:
Interested in becoming a Befriending and Mentoring volunteer?
Could you find the time to be a befriending volunteer to help improve the quality of life for an older person? Previous experience of the role is not essential, as full induction and training will be provided; we are looking for individuals with the following skills, aptitude, approach and personal qualities.
Have good communication skills with a range of people
Able to relate to individuals with mental health issues or who have a learning disability
Have good listening skills
Able to share experiences, skills, interests or activities with people
Able to enthuse and motivate people
Have a positive outlook on life
Willing to learn
Able to commit 1-2 hours a week (or more)
Have an empathy with the needs of older people
Have a sense of commitment
Have an understanding of mental health or learning disabilities
If you are, we would like to hear from you
For an Application Pack click Here (MS Word 97-2003)