5 Nov 2021

Celebrating Befriending Week - Giles' story

We spoke to one of our wonderful volunteers about what befriending means to him

Here's Giles' story:

I first heard about Wimbledon Guild’s befriending scheme when Covid-19 started. At that time, it was mainly telephone based so I signed up and was matched with a lovely woman - a wonderful character who I chatted to regularly.

Sadly, she passed away and I attended her funeral. After a break, and when I felt ready to be matched with a new person, I started visiting an older chap who I knew from one of the groups at Wimbledon Guild. His circumstances had changed which meant he could no longer travel so I visit him instead.

Even with his support network of family and friends, my friend worries that he’s losing his independence and ability to make his own decisions. He often uses me as a sounding board. I think it helps having someone independent he can talk to and I’m careful never to offer advice. 

Although both of my friends were from different backgrounds with different circumstances, the thing that we all, including me as a befriender, have in common is that we really benefit from a chat.

I’d recommend befriending to anyone. I’d say the most important thing is to be open – open to getting to know people from different backgrounds, and open to finding friendship.

Thank you to all our volunteer befrienders, you really are changing lives! If you'd like to find out more about becoming a befriender visit our Befriending page.

Help us make sure that no one in Merton has to face life’s challenges alone

We're offering practical help and support to more than 2,000 people across our borough every year. Whether they're worried about money, they’re feeling low or overwhelmed, or they’re looking for new friends and activities locally, we’re always here. Or at least we can be, with your support. Will you help us make sure that no one in our community has to face life’s challenges alone?

Yes, I’ll give today