We recruit volunteer Dementia Befrienders on a regular basis to help people with dementia live as well as possible in their own homes and local communities.
About the Bromley Dementia Befriending Service
The Bromley Dementia Support Hub Befriending Service supports people with dementia to stay active, interact with others and live as well as possible with dementia. The service provides people with dementia with social interaction and support to increase their confidence and ability to live in their own homes and local community.
Activities are specific to the assessed needs of the person with dementia and are decided with their agreement. They could include:
- Support to continue with hobbies and personal interests or to discover new ones.
- Support to participate in local leisure and community activities.
- Support to carry out day-to-day activities such as a walk in the park or a shopping trip.
- Providing a break and respite from caring duties for family and friend carers.
Reasons to become a volunteer Dementia Befriender
As well as contributing your time and experience to improve the lives of people living with dementia, you may benefit through:
- Increased confidence.
- An opportunity to learn new skills and boost work opportunities.
- Giving something back to your local community.
- A feeling that you are making a difference.
What we need from our volunteer Dementia Befrienders
We need you to:
- Have patience and empathy.
- Be committed to delivering a high quality service.
- Be able to commit time on a regular basis (a minimum of 1-2 hours per fortnight).
- Have good communication and listening skills.
- Know about or be willing to learn about dementia.
- Attend our induction, follow-up training sessions and six-weekly team meetings.
- Commit to being matched with a person with dementia over at least a six-month period.
- Have a commitment to work with people from all backgrounds with dignity and respect.
- Undertake a full Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
What you can expect from us
As a volunteer Dementia Befriender with us, you can expect:
- Induction and ongoing training.
- Support from a volunteer befriending worker.
- Peer support from other volunteer dementia befrienders
Volunteer to become a Dementia Befriender
We work in association with Age UK Bromley & Greenwich to recruit and train volunteer Dementia Befrienders. To apply to become a volunteer Dementia Befriender, please download, complete and return the form below.
David and Derrick – a lockdown befriending match
David, the befriender:
When the first lockdown happened I was at home at a bit of a loose end as my work temporarily dried up. I saw a list of volunteering opportunities and saw Dementia Befriending and realised I had some experience with my late mother. I thought this would be an opportunity for me to learn more about dementia and possibly support someone with this condition, to do something useful.
I was given dementia training by the Bromley Dementia Support Hub, which gave me a greater understanding of dementia and the confidence to proceed with my new befriending role.
As Covid was an issue, befriending with Derrick, who is in his nineties, began through phone calls only, which to my surprise was not as significant a hurdle as I expected, probably due to the Dementia Hub matching us together. For the first few months we continued with twice-weekly phone calls, where we discussed everything in the news, the weather, recollections of Walworth Road and Camberwell from his younger days, and even Britney Spears’ conservator court case, which Derrick wanted to discuss!
With Covid restrictions easing we have now been able to meet face-to-face since for six months, and it has been great being able to put a face to a name. We still have our discussions but I have now been able to accompany Derrick on short walks in his neighbourhood, his first ventures out for 18 months or so. Considering he uses a zimmer frame he is remarkably mobile and I think enjoys our walks and visits to the garden area.
“I would definitely recommend this role to anyone who has some time they can spare and wants to feel better about themselves, whilst hopefully doing some good.”
I am perhaps fortunate in that Derrick always seems pleased to see me and hear from me, I visit him once a week and also phone him once a week. I hope I am giving him some extra contact that he possibly would not get and providing something for him to look forward to. For me it leaves me feeling that I am making a positive contribution to society and doing some good albeit in a small way.
I would definitely recommend this role to anyone who has some time they can spare and wants to feel better about themselves, whilst hopefully doing some good.
Derrick, the client:
I’m very happy with David’s visits. We talk about all sorts and he’s got me walking, a little bit of exercise – I haven’t been out for 18 months.
We would like to say how thankful we are to David and the Befriending Service. David visits and phones Derrick regularly. It has been a great comfort in difficult times to know there is someone at the end of the phone to talk to him. Thank you all very much.
Florence and Charlie - sharing memories of Cornwall
Charlie was motivated to volunteer with the Bromley Dementia Support Hub due to family experience of dementia some years ago.
Charlie volunteers around her flexible working hours and visits Florence, who lives with memory loss, every week.
After being widowed a few years ago, Florence moved from the coast to the Orpington. She had lived there many years before, and still had family in the area. She now lives a few streets away from Charlie.
Florence always makes Charlie a cup of tea, and the two share “lovely chats” about, among other things, the different places they have lived, including overseas. Both of their families relocated to Cornwall for a life by the sea, and they have discussed this experience at length. Florence always has lots to say and has an excellent memory of her family’s adventures.
Florence is also very fond of Charlie’s dog, Betsy, which stays in the garden during visits.
“Charlie is a very nice lady and I look forward to her little visits. It’s just lovely to see her.”Florence
As a Dementia Befriender, Charlie is giving Florence the confidence to feel more positive about her new home and to get to know her area a bit more. Last October, they both attended the Big Birthday Street Party, a celebration for the Bromley dementia community held at Crofton Halls, Orpington.
“I have absolutely loved volunteering from the second I started. Florence and I spend time together each week talking and laughing. She never lets me leave without telling me how much she looks forward to our meetings each week, which makes me so happy.”Charlie
Volunteer with us
The Bromley Dementia Support Hub is always looking for Volunteer Dementia Befrienders to offer one-to one companionship for people recently diagnosed with dementia, to support them with activities in the home and local community.
The need is great, and while we welcome both men and women, we would like to see more men coming forward.
“Our befriending service depends on volunteers giving a few hours of their time a week to spend with people with dementia. Without befriending support, many people experience loneliness and isolation, both of which have been recognised as harmful to health. The service does help people diagnosed with dementia have more social interaction, increasing their confidence, do more and live as well as possible with dementia.”Eleanor Beardsley, Volunteer Befriending Worker with the Bromley Dementia Support Hub