Tuesday, 16th January 2018
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The Waterford Befriending Service is a Waterford Mental Health Association initiative which is voluntary based. It was set up, in May 2015, to help people over the age of 18 who are linked in with the Adult Mental Health Services (HSE). The aim is to support people who are recovering from mental health issues/difficulties. The Service hopes to foster independence, empowerment and reduce social isolation in the community.

What is Befriending?

Befriending is a relationship between a volunteer and a befriendee which operates within a structured framework. It is usually a time limited relationship which assists people to widen their own social network, increase independence and make informed choices hopefully enabling them to take better control of their day-to-day lives.

Waterford Befriending meets the needs of people with mental health issues/difficulties by:

- Supporting people to achieve their own personal aims or goals.

- Providing opportunities to the befriendee to have support in participating and developing their own interests and hobbies.

- Supporting the befriendee to access community resources such as local groups and educational services.

- Providing the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) Level 1 to befriendees.

Testimony from a Befriendee in 2016:

“I truly appreciate that I was involved in the Befriending programme. When I started 8 months ago I was really anxious, deeply depressed, lonely and isolated. I didn’t want to go anywhere outside of my home. Befriending had a good influence on me. Gradually I started to enjoy weekly activities with my new friend such as walking on the beach, having lunch together, visiting the theatre for shows and aqua aerobic classes. All this lifted my spirit, reduced my social isolation and helped me to get better control of my day-to-day living. I really had quality time with the volunteer. She is such a great listener, very nice and a very friendly young lady. I got her support anytime when I did need it."

Mary Leamy on behalf of Waterford and St Dominic Credit Unions said "the value of this voluntary service is not to be underestimated. With more and more demands on our younger generation this valuable service is to be highly commended."

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