After giving up work last year, Richard had a lot more free time and wanted to volunteer to help others, but he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. After visiting the Portsmouth Together drop in desk at the Central Library he learned about Be There For Care and applied to volunteer as a befriender.
Richard was introduced to the staff and residents at one of the local care homes and received dementia awareness training. Like all staff and volunteers, he also went through background checks including a Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check.
Richard started off working with staff in the home and as he and the residents grew more comfortable, he began to work in a one to one setting. Every week Richard visits one particular resident who used to play scrabble with her husband every evening. He spends a couple of hours playing with her and although she can’t always remember his name, she associates him with the fun they have playing their games of scrabble.
Richard said: “Even though she has dementia, she remembers playing scrabble in her past and she is still very good at it”
Richard sees befriending as a win-win situation as both he and the residents get something out of their time together. He said he gets a sense of achievement and a feeling that he gives back to the community. He also feels you can get a lot of knowledge and training that could benefit your career.