We were delighted to announce in March this year that our Befriending service hit 1000 calls.
Only a matter of months later and we are proud to say that number has doubled, with many patients now benefitting from the service on a regular basis.
The service launched in March 2020, following an idea from the volunteering team to help patients with isolation during lockdown.
Since then, it has continued to be a vital support service for patients.
PICTURED: Our 'Outstanding Befriender' badges are worn by our Befriending volunteers
Volunteer, Marty Jackson, assists with calling patients as part of our Befriending service.
He explains why he got involved with the service and why it’s so important to him.
PICTURED: Marty Jackson, volunteer
Marty said: “For as long as I can remember, I have had a passion for working with and helping people in need. I work full-time as a sports coach helping my clients realise and achieve their goals every day. It’s one of the most rewarding experiences you can have as a coach, trainer and friend.
“When I joined Beatson Cancer Charity, I went straight into their Befriending service where I would call and work with patients and family members affected by cancer. Some were going through treatment, and some were living with cancer through a family member or partner.
“In each case, it’s at times incredibly difficult dealing with a diagnosis and then going through a treatment plan. The befriending service was a way for us to reach out to those affected and to offer a safe and open space for them to talk about the things they felt were the most difficult for them."
PICTURED: Befriending volunteers Alexis, Julie & Zoe
Marty continued: “The service has an amazing signposting feature where we can listen to a service user’s situation and offer help in a number of ways. Support is a premium at all times and it really reinforces that they’re not alone, and talking about their fears or worries or concerns really helps them cope much better.
“As a befriender, I feel so lucky to be able to chat to all my service users each week and to reinforce that support and encouragement ethic that some may not have had for a long time. There’s nothing more rewarding. Strangers immediately become friends, that’s so powerful and important for everyone that uses our service.
“I feel very proud to be able to make a difference to those that need it most.”
The service was set up during lockdown to help those in isolation, however it will continue to run despite lockdown rules being lifted following its success.
58-year old Paul Kennedy from Johnstone began using our Befriending service following his cancer diagnosis and was paired up with volunteer, Marty.
PICTURED: Paul Kennedy
Paul said: “I have been using the Befriending service since I was diagnosed with prostate cancer just over a year ago. The Befriending service has been a god send to me and my family as being diagnosed with cancer affects all the family, not just me.
“Before I started using the service, I didn’t have an outlet - everything was bottled up because you don’t want to worry your wife and children with the thoughts that go through your head on a daily basis.
“I have phone calls on a weekly basis with Marty. It is increasingly important to have Marty and sometimes it’s better not to talk about cancer but just life in general - especially now.
“I would strongly recommend the Befriending service to everyone that is touched by cancer as it’s always better to talk.”
If you think you would benefit from our Telephone Befriending service or would like to be involved, please contact Paul on 0141 260 6446 or email email@example.com.