Volunteers’ Week is an annual event which takes place on 1-7th June, it is an opportunity to celebrate volunteering in all its diversity. This year Tandridge Voluntary Action (TVA) is looking for volunteers to join their Befriending Scheme, a local service providing companionship. If you are interested or would like to find out more come along to our Befriending Network Event on Saturday 9th June from 12.00-1.00pm at Oxted Community Hall, Church Lane RH8 9NB to find out more….

Between 12.00-1.00pm we will be welcoming those who might be interested in becoming a befriender or those who feel they might benefit from having a befriender or who know someone else who might benefit. It will be an opportunity to meet some of our incredible volunteer befrienders and the co-ordinator who will be happy to answer any questions.

Almost three-quarters of older people in the UK are lonely and more than half of those have never spoken to anyone about how they feel, according to a survey carried out for the Jo Cox commission on loneliness. “Loneliness is a serious public health issue and dealing with it takes the strain off the NHS and Social Services,” said Laura Alcock Ferguson, Executive Director of the “Campaign to end loneliness”. Common trigger events for loneliness include bereavement, retirement and children leaving home.

Befriending can take as little as an hour a week and can make a real difference to someone’s life by helping them to feel less lonely. It is suited to anyone who enjoys company, likes to chat and help others. Befrienders usually visit a client for about an hour a week at a mutually convenient time and visits mostly involve a chat and a cup of tea.  A local widower, aged 84, says “I have no family and often felt lonely and socially isolated. Having a Befriender has made a real difference to me and helped me to overcome my loneliness. I now make the effort to get out more.” And a local Befriender says “I love the time I spend as a Befriender. It has become a very positive part of my life as I love meeting new people.”

TVA is also looking for any local business or organisation who may be interested in helping to sustain this vital service in any way possible, whether by promoting the scheme to their customers, providing help, advice or funding.

If you would like to help others in this way please contact Befriending Scheme Coordinator, Lucy Darlow on 07796 307286 or email befriending@tva.org.uk . Alternatively, contact one of the Volunteer Centres run by Tandridge Voluntary Action in Oxted, 01883 722593 or Caterham 01883 818350.

Tandridge Voluntary Action (TVA) is a registered charity that has been serving the local community since 1991. It aims to help organisations operate more effectively by offering a range of support and information.

For more information please contact:

Lucy Darlow, Befriending Scheme Coordinator, Tandridge Voluntary Action, Tel: 07796 307286

Email: befriending@tva.org.uk