Bridging the Gap Project

Bridging the Gap is a 5 year Project coordinated by our Manager, Administrator and Finance Officer. Hearing Voices Network has been awarded funding by the Big Lottery Fund, to develop a Befriending Service. The scheme is for anyone living in the Dundee area who is experiencing mental health illness, is in receipt of a service, is socially isolated and/or who could benefit from the support and encouragement a volunteer befriender could provide.

What is a Befriender?

A Befriender is someone who respects you for who you are, encourages you to be more confident in yourself, and holds an interest in heart to be with you and support you through your difficulties. A Befriender has an understanding of the problems arising from mental distress, and offers support and understanding. However, a Befriender is not a medical professional, a social worker nor a counsellor; and their service is neither judgmental nor compulsory. It is an unpaid voluntary position. What do Befrienders do? Befrienders meet up with you on a regular basis to take part in activities you both enjoy, there are no recommended activities and it is completely between you and your befriender on what activity you decide on. The timings and place for meeting are arranged between yourself and the befriender but there is additional guidance and support available from the scheme coordinator if needed. How do I become a Befriender? The first step in becoming a befriender is to contact us. We have a contact form on our contact page, or just click here and make sure you make the subject “Befriending Volunteering”. We will then send you an information pack with all the information you need to know before deciding if you want to go ahead to the formal befriender training.

Do I need any qualifications?

Nope! You do not need to have any formal qualifications to become a Befriender the only things you need to have and be willing to commit to are listed before

* A valid Disclosure Scotland certification, click here for the application form.
* Befrienders must be 18 years old or over
* Hold an interest in contributing to make a positive change in the local community.
* Hold a desire to develop their people skills by being open and meeting new people.
* Able to commit a couple of hours a week to meet with your assigned friend.

A review and reflection will be run every 6 months to evaluate the running the Befriending journey, i.e. whether the relationship is having a positive effect on both members involved

Why should I become a befriender?

Being a befriender is basically being a friend to someone who, for whatever reason, may need a friend but find it difficult to form friendships or finds it difficult to meet new people. The befriending relationship hopes benefits for both people in the friendship. For the Befriended, they gain support, reduced social isolation and take part in something they enjoy just to name a few benefits. For the Befriender there are also quite a few benefits, such as the ones listed below.

* The opportunity to witness the effect their companionship and advice born from their own experience has on the life of the person they are befriending.
* Gain insight into other people’s experiences, which might retrospectively help them in their day to day.
* Becoming a Befriender involves a journey of personal growth and recovery.
* Gain further knowledge about Mental Health.
* Travel expenses and insurance are ensured for all volunteered engaged in Befriending on behalf of the Hearing Voices Network

National Lottery, Big Lottery Fund logo

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