The Future of Befriending
By Emily Lomax , February 2015
Volunteering England defines befriending as term that describes volunteers working on a one-to-one basis, supporting people in the community. They are activities which involve a volunteer offering another person in need a helping hand.
As a volunteer befriender with an elderly person for over 5 years, who had witnessed a number of changes during this time, Emily Lomax chose to focus her Fellowship research on the future for befriending in the UK.
In particular, as the funding and policy context has evolved, Emily has perceived a shift from befriending being a long-term friendship between an older person and their volunteer to becoming a shorter-term ‘intervention’ that focuses on specific outcomes.
This research project consisted of a short survey of befriending schemes, an interactive workshop and short film. This workshop report presents the results of a the survey and highlights of the workshop discussion, shares several case studies, presents 5 key findings and offers further information about monitoring and evaluation.
Emily said, "It is difficult to tell exactly what the future will hold for befriending delivery in the UK, but what is clear is that, without collaboration to develop appropriate evaluation tools, long term, and traditional befriending models will be pushed out amidst competition from corporate shorter term products with clearer defined outputs.
I hope that the sector can rise to this challenge and that my research will in some small way help on that journey."
Read The Future of Befriending workshop report .