"The 'Two Way Benefit of Befriending'"

About: Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

(as a volunteer/advocate),

“Being a Befriender has been one of the things that has given me a chance to try and manage my condition better and I will be forever grateful to you, your colleagues, and previous colleagues for this. It has also enabled me to meet K, to help him and for him to help me, but also for us to become lifelong friends.

Following his stroke several years ago K became even more housebound but following hospital treatment he has recovered somewhat. His longstanding physical and mental health disabilities, which he had when I first met him, still severely limits his lifestyle. However he bravely gets through the very hard times that he has, helped by his family, myself I hope, but also by his great courage. He helps me a great amount when I’m going through my hard times.

This ‘two way’ benefit is something that I know the Trust has promoted, and I fully endorse this. I am of the view that K’s ability to do things and cope with life has significantly improved due to him being given the opportunity to join the Befriending Scheme.

We seem to hit it off from day one which was many years ago. I continue to visit him, at present approximately once a fortnight. We have a really good chat often for more than a couple of hours. We also text when he or I are having tough times.

For some time I’ve recognised that I am no longer a “Befriender” and have not claimed ‘petrol money’. I know that due to all of the above I cannot “take on” anybody else. There has been nothing at all that you, your colleagues, or the Trust has done. You have all been wonderfully supportive of me.

I very much appreciate that you have written to me. In writing this reply it’s helped me sort things out in my mind.

My very Best Wishes and grateful thanks for the support that you have all given me over many years, and my personal thanks to you Joanna for being there for me. ”

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Response from Toni Morley, Children & Young People's Patient Experience & Involvement Lead, Family Health Division, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

Thank you so much for your lovely feedback regarding your befriending experience.

We are so pleased that you are getting as much benefit from the scheme as your befriendee is and it is wonderful to hear that you have developed such a close friendship through this.

The Trust greatly values the dedication and contribution made by all of our volunteers and befrienders and receiving feedback helps us to ensure that our volunteers have a happy, positive and supportive experience with us.

Thank you once again for your valuable contribution.

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