Julia Macrae receives a grant cheque from Paul Jackson
Visit to BEfriend
On 5th August 2019, I visited the Volunteer Link Scheme to present a grant cheque for £3,000. This sum will go towards funding their Linked Minds programme, which supports those who are isolated in Ealing and Hounslow.
The grant is part of our Partners for Health initiative with London Catalyst. I met Elinor Parry-Jones and Julia Macrae (pictured), who are both Trustees. Julia explained that the Volunteer Link Scheme had recently changed its name to BEfriend.
About the Charity
BEfriend is a registered charity established in 1994. It provides one-to-one volunteer befriending to people within the London Borough of Ealing who are socially isolated as a result of physical, sensory, cognitive or psychological impairment.
The Charity currently has 3 areas of support:
Supporting isolated and lonely people
This service which has been running since 1994, usually supports older people who live alone and have little, if any, social support. The befriending volunteers support lonely and isolated people, through regular visiting and meet-ups. Volunteers usually visit every week for one and a half to two hours. The purpose of the visit is to provide companionship, as well as emotional and social support. This service is usually long-term, for as long as it is needed
Dementia Befriending Service
The Charity has recently started to support older adults with cognitive impairment, or a diagnosis of mild dementia. They are working together with Dementia Concern to provide training for their volunteers. This service is usually long-term, for as long as it is needed. As part of this service, the is also able to provide a short respite break for carers who struggle to get out due to their caring responsibilities. This will be a weekly break of around 2 hours while the volunteer is visiting.
Linked Minds is a new Mental Health Befriending project, which has been set up jointly with Mind in Ealing and Hounslow. This service is to support clients who are isolated because of mental health problems. Befrienders are able to help their clients gain confidence and are also able to help them explore what they would like to do, whether that is; getting a job, joining a club, or meeting other people. The service is time limited to 12 months and it is hoped that by the end of the year our clients feel better about themselves and are linked in to their community.
We received a number of high calibre applications for Partners for Health in 2019 and BEfriend would certainly count as one of these.
To learn more about BEfriend, please visit their website: