Amazing impact of befrienders on lives of others

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Did you know loneliness costs lives and increases the risk of dying prematurely by 10 per cent?

On average, 10 per cent of the those over the age of 65 are chronically lonely.

Each year, Befriending Week (November 1-7) highlights the amazing impact befrienders have on the lives of others, helping to improve health through the reduction of loneliness and social isolation.

This year the emphasis is on partnership, and in Glasgow Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland (CHSS) are proud to work in partnership with Volunteers who provide an invaluable befriending service to those in the area living with cardiac and respiratory conditions.

One such partnership is Sarah and Cath (pictured).

Sarah was referred to the CHSS service as although her husband Roy is at home she was looking to also have some female company. She was matched with CHSS volunteer Cath in June 2015 and they have been getting to know each other since, over a good chat as well as learning new skills on the computer and a few soup making sessions.

Speaking of being matched with Cath, Sarah said: “By far the most enjoyable part of the match has been the opportunity to get out and about.

“There has been a trip for fish & chips, shopping outings and even a Christmas lunch out.

“This would have been very difficult without Cath’s help and we really enjoy the outings. The next adventure is to visit showrooms for a new kitchen - which in turn will help with the soup making!!” Sarah continued “Cath can’t do enough for us”.

Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland’s befriending Co-ordinator for Glasgow, Joanne Robison explains: “The volunteers in our service offer a one to one support service providing companionship to people who experience limited social contact. Volunteer befrienders are recruited, trained and carefully matched with people who need someone to talk to, go shopping with, or perhaps just share a cup of tea.

“Often a volunteer befriender is the only person that some people will see in a week.

“CHSS volunteers have a massive impact and we are so thankful for the time they give to help beat loneliness in the local area.

“The results of befriending can be very significant, often providing people with a new direction in life, opening up a range of activities and leading to increased self-esteem and self-confidence.”

To find out more about supporting your local befriending service, contact: Joanne Robison on tel: 01236 770706 or email joanne.robison@chss.org.uk