Experience – Third Age Befriending

Retirement is the perfect time to start volunteering!

I am thoroughly enjoying my volunteering. It is great being able to spend time with an individual, knowing you are not having to rush back to an office or on to see another person.

Volunteering is something I have wanted to do for a long time but never felt able to commit to with the pressures of full time working. Now that I am retired I know I can commit. I would urge anyone thinking about it to take the plunge. The training and support that goes along with the role is excellent. It is something which people will not regret.

It is early days in my role as a befriender but my lady tells me I am making a difference to her life already. She looks forward to my visits and going out. She finds it helpful to talk to me about things she does not want to bother her family with.

Tags: Third Age Befriending, Volunteering
15/09/2016 at 2:13 pm


I’m much more able to do things myself now…

The Third Age Befriending Stepping On Group expanded their activities to visiting a wider range of local cafes and restaurants, as well as day trips out to further afield venues and activities. On our days out, we started by picking B up from his flat, then encouraged him to come along to a more central point to be picked up by the bus. This was to encourage B to find his own way to a designated spot at an allocated time.

B was talking about the confidence he now feels in travelling to new places:
“Since we started going out to different trips, I feel more able, more confident. I know I can do it and I won’t panic. I’ve wanted to go back to Stirling to see the town for a long time. I haven’t been back since moving over here, but I couldn’t take the bus because I was too feart. Well, we’ve been out a lot lately and I loved it, seeing all the different places and the wee bus was great. I love sitting looking out the window.
So the other day was a good day and I thought, I’m going to try and get the bus to Stirling. I thought I’d just go through to see if I could do it and come home. But I went for a wee wander through the town and then had a bit lunch in a café. I could never, never have done that a year ago. I wouldn’t have gone out on a bus and I wouldn’t have gone into a café by myself.

I do think the group has made a difference, aye definitely. I’m much more able to do things myself now. Going into Stirling was big for me, I’m fair pleased with myself. I’m definitely going back for another trip.”

Provided July 2014

Tags: Anxiety, Third Age Befriending
09/12/2014 at 1:47 pm


Achieving aims with Third Age Befriending

This is the story of F., referred to the TAB project as she was anxious, shy and would not leave the house unless accompanied by her husband. F. and her husband have a close relationship, but both were aware that they needed to work towards her becoming more independent.

F. was matched with a befriender and they practised using the buses into Falkirk to meet for coffee. They had also looked at knitting classes within F.’s area that she could attend in the future, once her confidence was built up.

The befriender had to withdraw from volunteering due to changes in work and for a short time, until another befriender was identified, F. joined our monthly lunch group. She functioned within the group very well, which was a joy to see, as she had previously had been very nervous of being a group settings, however small. The group were extremely supportive of F. and she began to relax and look forward to the outings.

We were able to match F. again fairly quickly and she has gelled with her befriender very quickly. F. had expressed a desire to learn to use the buses from Falkirk to Stirling, so that she was not limited to Falkirk and she could work towards visiting a housebound friend in Stirling, who she had not been able to see for some time.

On their 3rd meeting, the befriender organised with F. where she would get on the bus to Stirling and accompanied her to Stirling to show her where she would get off the bus. The following week, F. travelled independently to Stirling (having practised again, the weekend before with her husband) and met with her befriender.

F. was extremely pleased with this development and was very excited about the possibility of meeting her friend in the near future. Both F. and her befriender intend to meet outwith Falkirk more regularly and they are talking about trying out the buses to Edinburgh and further afield.

This is such an achievement in a very short time and indicates the value of setting clear aims and goals to work towards. It allows an opportunity to plan and have a feeling of control and independence and, when the goals are achieved, it allows a chance for the person to feel pride and value herself.

F.’s husband is delighted and amazed at F.’s progress and says that he feels more secure and much less anxious about about their future. F. has also started to attend the small local knitting group independently and says this is due to her feeling secure and able to cope with small groups after regularly attending the Stepping on monthly lunches and thereby feeling more confident about trying other group activities.

Provided June 2014

Tags: Anxiety, Third Age Befriending
09/12/2014 at 1:18 pm


Making Margaret proud

Do you know, I would never have known that Callendar House was there unless Arthur (my Befriender) had opened my eyes to it. He’s showing me so many things that I never knew were out there and all free too. The Helix is wonderful and I’ve been back myself after Arthur took me.

I think you made a wonderful match there. He’s such a great guy and easy to talk to, funny, a lot in common with me. I really like him and I’m so pleased you picked him to work with me. Thanks so much. I already feel he’s beginning to work, I’ve found it easier to stay off the big binges (drinking) and I do look forward to seeing him, so it gives me a focus. I do think about Margaret a lot, still, but instead of thinking that she would be ashamed of me, I think ” Oh Margaret would have enjoyed it here” or “Margaret would have liked walking here” when I’m out at places with Arthur. I think Margaret would be proud of me, at what I’m doing. This is a great project, I had no idea something like this would help, it would help so many people.

Provided August 2014

Tags: Isolation and Loneliness, Third Age Befriending
09/12/2014 at 12:51 pm


Third Age Group members thrive due to new ideas

Hugh talks about the Third Age Befriending project’s Stepping On Group and the changes that have taken place throughout this year introducing new members and more varied meeting places:

“I like the group much better now. Before, we always went to the same café so I didn’t go too often. But now, I really like trying all the new café’s and restaurants. Two years ago, I would not have been able to go into a restaurant or café, I would have been too nervous, worried, I just couldn’t have walked in to a restaurant myself. But if I know the group is waiting for me, I’m fine. I’m really pleased I’m doing it.

We’ve been to some really good cafes. I really like the trips we’ve been on too. Everyone gets to put in an idea for a trip. The Steam Railway was one of my suggestions and I’m really looking forward to that. I would never have thought about a boat trip, but Margaret’s idea of the RSPB boat trip sounds great and I’m hoping it’ll be a good day for it.

I think it’s good that more new people are joining us, new faces to chat to. New ideas, too. Yes, I like the group much better now and I come more often than before. All these beautiful ladies there, you see!”

Received: April 2014

Tags: Third Age Befriending
26/05/2014 at 7:19 pm


Third Age Befriending – “I like the looking forward”

On our first meeting, we went to see a friend of mine who had had a heart attack. I hadn’t been able to see her and I was so desperate. It was great seeing her and I felt really relieved at being able to see her.

We go out all the time. It’s been, oh, about two years since I was last out in Falkirk, well, anywhere! My befriender took me down to Falkirk and I was amazed at how much it has changed! Some really great changes. I kept on bumping into people who I knew and they couldn’t believe I was out and about again. Some didn’t know I was in a wheelchair now. My befriender said ” Do you know everyone in Falkirk?!”We went down again, the following week and my befriender met loads of people she kent, so it was my turn to say “Do you ken everyone in Falkirk?!”

We went to Dunelm Mill, which I had heard about from neighbours. It’s fabulous, really good. I got some cushions, for the flat, which really cheered me up. I got a throw for my chair too. Lovely colours. I loved it there, I could spend a fortune. We’re going back again, and trying the café this time.

I get a bit of my independence back, it’s totally up to us what we do, and where we go. I’m going to places I used to only hear about. Just being able to pick my own, nice cushions! I really like her company, she’s good to blether to, always and I’d really miss her. I love getting out in the car again. I just love it.

I think the best thing about the befriending is that I look forward to her coming. Seems silly, but just knowing I’m going to be getting out later in the week helps a lot. I like the looking forward.

Tags: Isolation and Loneliness, Third Age Befriending
25/11/2013 at 6:50 pm