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Cambridgeshire Mencap

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Do you want to make friends, learn new skills and change lives?

18/01/2012

Bowling outing

Cambridgeshire Mencap’s befriending scheme helps adults with a learning disability in Fenland to socialise. Being a volunteer befriender involves spending a few hours every month with your friend doing things you both enjoy; going bowling, out for a meal, playing golf, trips to the seaside and much more. Having a befriender makes it possible for someone with a learning disability to access social activities.

The befriending scheme is holding two drop-in sessions at Fenland libraries for anyone wishing to find out more about becoming a befriender. These are on Tuesday 14th February at Wisbech library from 10am-1pm and Wednesday 15th February at March library from 10am-1pm. Please come along for an informal chat and to meet the scheme co-ordinators.

Jane Parrish contacted Cambridgeshire Mencap around 18 months ago after seeing an appeal for volunteers in her village. Jane said “Having recovered from a serious illness, and no longer working I decided to do something useful with my spare time, and have never looked back.”

Being a volunteer befriender is always fun, very rewarding and makes a big difference to someone’s life. As Jane describes, “I think the most enjoyable thing about being a volunteer is helping someone to lead as normal life as possible. It’s a great feeling to watch someone having a good time.”

Befriending is really flexible with no set days and times but always enjoyable. As Jane explains, “I meet with my friend roughly every three weeks and we do things such as dog walking, going to the local farm and we have recently joined a line dancing class.”

Like many people Jane had never done anything like this before and was a bit nervous. “There is so much help available for volunteers who, like me, had never done this kind of thing before and may be a little apprehensive. I have attended some extremely helpful and informative training sessions, and met some lovely people in the process.” You don’t need any specific skills or experience just a caring nature, the ability to drive and access to a car.

“To anyone considering becoming a volunteer, I would say go for it! You have nothing to lose and so much to gain from doing something worthwhile. You don’t have to do anything grand to make someone’s life happier, and the reward is the smile on their face!”

If you would like to find out more about becoming a volunteer befriender then please click here. Come along to our drop in sessions in February or call Suzanne on 01354 651166, email Suzanne@cambridgeshiremencap.co.uk.



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