“In short, the experience of befriending proved to be a massively positive part of my life and hopefully that of my befriendee.”
David was a Volunteer Befriender with Ecas for 4 years. Read about his journey here:
After 33 years working in retail I was made redundant in my 50’s and finding it hard to imagine myself in a new career role. I decided on doing some form of voluntary work as a way of gaining confidence in a new role and hopefully putting something back into society along the way.
I approached Ecas after reading about the Befriending Service. After an introductory chat, I took part in some enjoyable, interactive befriender training that covered what befriending is and isn’t, some communication tips and about the boundaries of the service. I also had the chance to review some anonymised profiles of people looking for a befriender.
After a short period Ecas let me know about a potential befriendee who suited my location and preferences, and who shared some of my interests. I was then introduced to a gentleman a little older than myself and, as we got on so well, he would become my befriendee for the next four years. This proved to be a very enjoyable period in my life. I enjoyed his company and hopefully somewhat alleviated the difficult circumstances he was experiencing health-wise and socially.
Once a week I would visit for a couple of hours and we would discuss all the main topics of the day from sport to politics and everything in-between and, if he wished, personal worries or concerns. I was able to get positive and helpful feedback on how my befriendee was benefiting from this via regular support and supervision meetings with Ecas.
I felt I had gained enough confidence through my befriending to apply for a job as a support worker, working with people with learning difficulties. I doubt I would have been confident enough to do that prior to my befriending but, with there being some parallels in both roles, it seemed much less of a leap of faith and more a natural progression. I successfully secured a post as a casual support worker and continued in my befriending role until the passing of my befriendee.
In short, the experience of befriending proved to be a massively positive part of my life and hopefully that of my befriendee. It also proved immensely beneficial to me to be a part of something so positive and boosted my confidence in finally trying out a different career even relatively late in my working life. I am very fulfilled in my new role and have a real sense of job satisfaction that I hadn’t had in many years and Ecas played a big part in choosing my new career path.