How does the service work?
- We try to make sure that the befriender lives near to the older person and that they have similar interests.
- We provide companionship (matching befriender and client)
- The face-to-face meetings between befriender and client have a focus on the person (companionship, empowerment, confidence) and social (engagement in beneficial community activities)
- It provides a link / medium between clients and other support networks / professionals.
- Volunteers are introduced to the older person by the coordinator.
At present, over sixty housebound older isolated people receive regular visits, enjoying friendship and community engagement that boosts their self-esteem and helps improves health.
If you think you, or someone you know, might benefit from a regular home visit, please get in touch with us.
The Furzedown Farmers Initiative
As an an extension to our Home Visiting scheme we have developed the Furzedown Farmers initiative, thanks to a special grant from The National Lottery Community Fund.
This allows people with a common interest in gardening to get together and grow healthy food. With weekly home visits from the gardening volunteer, to help ‘farm’ vegetables in gardens, window sills and window boxes of people who find it difficult to get out.
We will facilitate adapted tai chi sessions should you wish, to help improve your mobility and balance. Education sessions and trips will be organised by The Furzedown Project.
For more information on our outreach services
please call Clive Brown, Home Visiting Coordinator on 020 8677 4283 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Home visitor’s stories
Our befriending relationship has over the past year developed enormously. I look forward to seeing P and I know she looks forward to seeing me. She commented that she is very happy with our meetings and that she enjoys our conversations. We discuss family, daily news, fashion, food, how it was when P was a girl, when her children were young and her husband was around. We talk about my work and what I do. In fact we talk about anything we feel like.
Sometimes my visits last one hour, sometimes two. If we are unable to meet I will phone P, or she will phone me so we have a conversation on the phone. P manages herself very well. As for me, I enjoy sitting down with her for an hour or two. I think the Home Visiting Scheme is a wonderful way of combating isolation.
The Furzedown Project runs a variety of events and activities and I know that P always looks forwards to them. She tries to attend as many as she can. The Project is about improving and enhancing elderly people’s lives and it does a fantastic job. As a volunteer I think the Project is a very positive organisation and it’s contribution to the community of people it supports is huge. I am proud to be part of the Project as a volunteer.
Abigail Johnsen and Margo Random
I got involved with the Furzedown Project after feeling a need to give something back to the local community and had heard about it through a friend.
Clive interviewed me and soon had me matched up with an elderly woman called B. It soon proved that we were a good fit and over the next couple of months I developed a profound and wonderful friendship with her, one that I am extremely happy to have gained. It is a real joy to me and I hope it is the same for her.
I was away travelling for a few months so I asked my Mum, Margo, to take over my role with B. She has then since developed her own relationship with B which has blossomed over the time I have been away! We now love to share the responsibility of visiting B, on alternate weeks or together, which I feel we all enjoy.
This is what my mum Margo says about our relationship with B: “When Abigail embarked on a trip abroad, I decided to take her place and become the befriender to B, a lovely lady 91 years young! B is spirited and engaging but unfortunately is unable to get around as she used to, so a home befriender is an important addition to her week. I too look forward to our weekly visits with her.”
I joined Furzedown Project as a befriender after completing my degree, to gain some experience. Now, more than 18 months later I feel that this was the most rewarding thing I’ve done. I feel so connected to my client, an 88-year-old lady, and over time our relationship has become very strong. I look forward to visiting her every week. We spent 2-3 hours together.
Sometimes I do a little shopping, other times I bring a home-cooked meal for her. She says I shouldn’t do this, but is very grateful to have a freshly prepared meal as she can’t stand long to cook her own food.
We normally discuss how our week was since the previous visit, as well as discussions about the news of the day. Sometimes she shares events from her past, her family, the war. It’s all very interesting to me.
I believe my client is happy that she has someone who is a good listener. Bringing the past into conversations makes her less lonely and reduces her social isolation. Currently I’m taking driving lessons and once I begin to drive I would love to take her to different places. Mr Brown is always available to discuss and help with issues or thoughts about my client’s wellbeing. The Home Visiting Scheme offered by Furzedown Project is a great idea. It has a very positive impact on individuals’ lives.