During the Coronavirus Pandemic, I realised, having elderly parents of my own, that there would be a lot of people feeling lonely and isolated. I felt that maybe I could make a difference, and be a friend to help somebody through.
I started with Yorkshire Children’s Centre (part of Kirklees Befriending Partnership) as a Telephone Befriender in August 2020, and I had not volunteered before.
I wasn’t sure what skills would be really needed but soon realised that all the skills you really need are being there at the end of the phone to listen, to chat, to bring a smile and brighten somebody’s day.
Being a Befriender is flexible and easy to do and can be as much or as little time as you want to give but can really make a difference.
I really enjoy my weekly phone call with my friend, we have learned so much about each other and celebrated Christmas, Easter and Birthdays over the phone and have a good old chat every week. We enjoy laughing together and sharing life stories. We have even been known to have a sing-along to keep us smiling. Although there is 35 years difference between us, we still find common ground and lots of interesting things to talk about.
What have you found rewarding or memorable about your experience?
On a personal level, I have gained a great friend whom I am very fond of and I feel that the whole experience has been so worthwhile and a privilege. I would highly recommend anyone to give up a little of their own time for others because for me giving something back is so important. It makes others feel good, which then in return makes me feel good. I hope one day in 35 years’ time, I might receive such a telephone befriender.
I enjoy making a difference and when I end the call each week saying “I will ring you the same time, same day next week, so take care and keep safe and well until then” and receiving the response “I will look forward to your call, bye for now” – it makes my day.
Find out more
Over the last year, Telephone Befriender Volunteers recruited during the pandemic as part of the Kirklees Befriending Partnership have made over 8,500 calls to isolated people in Kirklees.
You only need to commit 1 hour a week to volunteer as Telephone Befriender with the Kirklees Befriending Partnership .