People with combined sight and hearing loss can become lonely, socially isolated and detached from their local community if they don’t have regular contact with their family and friends or are unable to continue with the hobbies and activities they enjoy.
The Befriender service aims to remove this social isolation and enhance the individual’s quality of life by linking them with a volunteer ‘befriender’ to meet socially or establish contact via email or telephone on a regular basis.
How it works
Following an introduction made by Deafblind UK, volunteer befrienders will regularly visit people with combined sight and hearing loss, helping them to once again do more of the things they enjoy. This could include a visit to the local café, leisure activities such as rambling, a cup of tea and chat or help with information technologies. Our Befriender service also offers telephone and email befriending – with regular contact made by email or phone – so you can choose the option that suits you best.
The volunteers do not provide a personal care service so will not be able to help with activities such as lifting people (eg, out of bed), giving medication, collecting pensions or acting as a sitting service.
If you are interested in becoming a befriender, please click here to find out more about the available volunteering opportunities.
Who is the service for?
The Befriender service has been set up for those who have a combined sight and hearing loss, are feeling lonely and would like the support of a ‘friend’. With this service, we’re also keen to help those recently diagnosed with combined sight and hearing loss, using the befriending process as a means to prevent social isolation.
How is the referral made?
Self-referrals are accepted as are referrals from a range of professionals such as social workers, GPs, ophthalmologists, support workers and care workers, always with the knowledge and consent of the service user.
How much does it cost?
There is no cost to receive the Befriender service.
What happens next?
Once the referral form has been received one of our Befriender Project Officers will be in contact with you to arrange a time and date to assess suitability, explain how the service works and answer any questions that you have. The assessments are used to discuss and identify how the service can benefit you.
The success of the Befriender scheme is based on the compatibility of the volunteer and person with sight and hearing loss and does not work on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. That is why it is important that in the initial assessment we find out your interests and hobbies so that we can determine a suitable match. The project officer will then arrange for you to meet the volunteer befriender.
For more information on this service, or to make a referral, please contact the team.