Be a Volunteer, Become a Friend
While volunteering to knit for charity “I met new FRIENDS”, Olha
Becoming a volunteer is a great way to meet new people, and you can make really great new friends. When you sign up to become a volunteer you choose what activity gives you joy, and the cause you want to help, therefore, the people you meet along your way while volunteering have something in common with you as you all are helping with the same shared activity.
As life evolves, our interests and enthusiasm shifts, and sometimes relationships change and one can find themselves seeking out people who are on the same path as them. This may be people with small children, retired people, people that are new to an area, young people who want to make a difference in the world and volunteering can be a keystone to helping you engage with the same people, in the same mindframe as you. Maybe you’d like to meet someone from a different background, age or culture. We can learn so much from others.
“You will have lots of fun, conversation, good times and most of all, a wonderful friendship. I recommend everyone finds themselves an older friend – you won’t regret it.” Deirdre, ALONE – Befriender Volunteer
Research has shown that people who volunteer are likely to make a friend while doing so. It also suggests that more than half of the population feels lonely regularly, but regular volunteering helps people obtain the social interaction they need to feel less lonely. “One study found that adults aged 51+ whose spouses had recently died felt less lonely than those who did not volunteer.”
Befriending, by definition, is to act as or become a friend to someone. What better way to help to dispel your feelings of loneliness than by helping others who are feeling lonely too.
ALONE and Sligo Social Services are looking for volunteers to become “befrienders”. The volunteer will be matched up with a person in the area, possibly someone who is elderly, may live alone or who has lost their significant other or has no family that lives in close proximity. You will meet up with the person on a regular basis, either in their own home or somewhere of your choosing, you can do things together like go for a walk, meet for a coffee or maybe see a show! And over time, there is potential to naturally develop a friendship that is meaningful and lasting for both of you!
Another role that we have is befriending the residents of St. John’s Hospital; a volunteer will regularly pop in to the hospital to visit long term residents for a chat, game of cards or whatever you would both like to do
You can also befriend or mentor a young person through the Big Brother/Big Sister programme with Foroige. You can be a positive influence in a young person’s life.
ALONE and Sligo Social Services also seek the help of volunteers to act as “friendly call” volunteers. This means that you just pick up the phone and regularly call a person to check in with them and have a chat. You don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home to do it and you will receive training and support on how this all works. Typically for these roles you will need to fill out an application form, have an informal interview and undergo Garda Vetting. The Organisation will help you with all of this.
This form of volunteering is some of the most rewarding and invaluable ways to spend your time, as the people you are connecting with are just looking for someone to talk to and spend time with.
If you want to find out more about volunteering in Sligo, don’t hesitate to get in touch.