As the New Year approaches, Community Action Network (CAN) is offering an enticing opportunity for people looking to fulfil their 2024 resolution of giving back to their community. CAN is calling upon aspiring Wellbeing Volunteers to join their mission in combating loneliness in Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole (BCP).
Following the success of the CAN Wellbeing Volunteers pilot program in August 2022, we are offering an attractive package of support for new volunteers. This includes a complimentary Enhanced DBS check, two hours of comprehensive volunteer training, ongoing support from the volunteer coordinator, free Beryl Bike minutes and more.
Age UK reports that 1 in 4 people over 50 in the UK often experience loneliness, a challenge that can intensify during the Christmas season and the darker, winter months. Volunteers are critical at this time to help take the pressure off NHS services. CAN Wellbeing Volunteers aim to counter this issue through telephone and in-person befriending, or task-based assistance such as medication pick-up and deliveries. With no minimum time commitment, volunteers can choose a flexible schedule that aligns with their availability.
CAN identified the critical need for one-on-one-based volunteering within a wraparound service with a wellbeing focus. To date, the project has logged over 200 hours of wellbeing and friendship volunteering and is now preparing to accommodate an influx of referrals in the new year.
A person supported by a telephone befriender said: “She had a way of saying things that made me feel like she totally got it and understood me. She made me think I was normal, and my thoughts weren’t irrational. You can spiral sometimes in your own mind and by offloading to someone else, the little voice in your head can go away. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience”.
Abi Squires, Wellbeing Collaborative Volunteer Coordinator, encourages anyone looking to give back in the new year to sign up and begin the training process as soon as possible. “It all begins with a very simple sign-up form, and then I’m here to help every step of the way.
We welcome applications from anyone, whether you have 10 minutes a week or a few hours, we have something that will work for you. As a Wellbeing Volunteer, you could be bringing a little joy to a lonely person who needs it by being a friendly face they see each week, or helping out doing an odd job they can’t do by themselves. If you have even a tiny amount of time to spare and want to do some good, get in touch!”
A Wellbeing Volunteer who participated in the initial pilot program said “It has been very rewarding knowing that you have made a difference to someone in need. It turns out that I needed somebody as much as somebody needed me.”
One of the heart-warming case studies involves a telephone wellbeing volunteer match between Gaby and Charlie. Their first call fostered a “beautiful connection,” making Gaby eagerly anticipate each phone call. Gaby reflected, “Charlie said the right things at the right time, and it lifted me up so much. I found my mood was better after our conversations, and the whole day was set after we chatted. We were able to talk about anything and everything, which is just what I needed.” Gaby and Charlie both described the experience as “beautiful and fulfilling,” leaving a lasting impact on both of them even after the calls concluded, as they shared “endless laughter and stories.”
Find more information and sign up for this rewarding opportunity. You can also contact our Wellbeing Collaborative Volunteer Coordinator for more information by emailing email@example.com or calling 01202 466130.