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BEFRIENDING

Befriending Companions is a free service offered by MA Centre UK to facilitate greater harmony in the local community and wider society by improving health and wellness.

Registered Charity 113353

NEED HELP?

To register, please call 0800 009 6353 between 2pm and 6pm daily or email us

HOW IT WORKS

Has lockdown made you feel lonely and isolated? Would you like to share your anxieties and worries with someone? MACCS Befriending Companions are here to support you.

We understand that many individuals feel overlooked due to ill health, disability, old age, or other social disadvantages. Our aim is to make you feel better and actively take control. By using this free service, you will be put in touch with a Befriender who will offer a friendly ear and a meaningful connection. On regular phone calls, you will be helped to overcome feelings of anxiety and lack of social contact with compassionate, non-judgmental support. You will be helped to access services and community resources which might be beneficial. Whilst we do not deliver medical or professional counselling advice, we can direct you towards organisations which do.

Our Registered Charity is committed to helping improve the health and wellness of individuals in the local community and wider society. We believe that every single person should be cared for, supported and heard during these tough times to facilitate us all living in greater harmony and peace. All of our volunteers are vetted and trained through a programme carefully designed by healthcare professionals to provide a holistic experience.

We aim to make you feel:

  • Less lonely and isolated
  • Less anxious and depressed
  • Heard, valued and respected
  • More confident and resilient
  • More independent
  • Able to integrate into your local community
  • Mentally and physically improved
  • Empowered
  • Happier

We also provide coping and wellbeing strategies which can help you gain the strength to manage your daily tasks independently. Where necessary, we assist in accessing services or community resources beyond our reach. Please note that we do not provide medical or professional counselling and are unable to meet the needs of individuals with complex or acute mental health issues, suicidal ideation, drug and alcohol dependencies or advanced dementia. The service is inclusive and open to anyone over the age of 18.

To access the service, please call 0800 009 6353 between 2pm and 6pm daily or email us

VOLUNTEER

Befriending Companions is an inclusive organisation and volunteers aged over 18 are welcome to join our pioneering movement.

We help isolated individuals feel valued and heard by offering weekly phone calls, which in turn offers an important humane connection and a listening ear to an allocated Befriendee (service user).

Almost one in five people in the UK have expressed feelings of loneliness or social isolation. Alarmingly, research shows that apart from the obvious detrimental effect this has on the individual’s mental health, isolation can increase the likelihood of mortality by 26%, a risk factor equivalent to the early deaths caused by smoking 15 cigarettes a day. By joining us as a Befriending Companion you will make a positive impact on our society.

We are looking for volunteers with time, commitment and willingness to help, who are:

  • Friendly, helpful, patient, compassionate and tolerant
  • Able to identify problems which may require specialist help
  • Self-aware and mindful of boundaries
  • Able to facilitate and support Befriendees in solving their problems

Once registered we will provide you with training workshops in:

  • Active listening
  • Empathetic communication
  • Building trustworthy connections
  • Guidelines for further supporting a Befriendee

Although experience in mental and medical health is not required to become a Befriender, if you have some, you may wish to register as:

  • An Initial Call Response volunteer (ICR), to help screen callers into our service
  • A Befriending Support Supervision Volunteer (SSV) to provide support to Befrienders in our network.

HR and Administrative roles are also available, with no mental and medical health experience as a pre-requisite.

If you are interested in volunteering for MACCS Befriending Companions please email: support@macentre.org.uk

CCGs & PARTNERS

Befriending Companions offer meaningful, compassionate, free support to those who feel sidelined and socially isolated due to ill health, disability, old age or social disadvantage.

Since launching in May 2020, we have developed a multidisciplinary team of volunteers, including Health Care and Mental Health Practitioners. Currently, most of our service users are sign-posted to us through Social Prescribing Link Workers via the Southend Primary Care Network (PCN). We do not provide medical advice or professional counselling and are unable to meet the needs of individuals with acute or complex mental health issues, personality disorders, suicidal ideations, drug or alcohol dependence or dementia. All of our service users are screened and undergo mandatory and in-depth training before being matched to a Befriender.

The service is monitored through:

  • Safety and reference checks on all volunteers
  • Training and workshops for volunteers
  • Support and supervision by Mental Health Practitioners

Confidentiality is assured and all personal data is held securely.

We are a growing volunteer-run service and welcome partnerships with CCGs, companies, charities and public sector organisations. Please contact us at befriending@macentre.org.uk for further information about Befriending Companions and opportunities for us to work together.