News by: Reading Voluntary Action
The drop-in event, which took place on Tuesday 7 June at Reading Central Library, was organised by the Ready Friends project. For members of the public who may be interested in becoming a befriender, it was a chance to find out more in a friendly and informal environment. Attended by representatives from a variety of local charities – among them Age UK Reading, Sue Ryder, Enrych Berkshire and the Alzheimer’s Society – the afternoon offered the opportunity for potential befrienders to chat face to face with the organisations involved and get answers to questions such as: ‘What befriending opportunities are available?’, What are the benefits of befriending’ and ‘What training and support is available to befrienders?’.
For the charity representatives the event provided an opportunity to promote the work of their respective organisations, as well as the chance to network, and share ideas and best practice. Speaking about the importance of such events for both organisations involved in befriending and potential befrienders, John Evans, Befriending Co-ordinator at Age UK Reading said:
“You don’t usually get the opportunity to talk face to face, it’s usually via email, but here you can explain it in more depth, and if it’s not for them, that’s fine – they can pick that up quicker face to face … I think it’s a good thing for the different befriending groups to meet each other, you can share knowledge, practice and problems that you’ve had. Sometimes you’ll have a problem that you don’t think anyone has experienced, but when you get together someone will say, ‘Oh I’ve had that’ or ‘Have you tried this?’.”
The event was organised to mark Volunteers’ Week, an annual event which aims to celebrate the contribution made by volunteers worldwide.