YOU know that wonderful feeling when you’re little, and you make friends with someone who likes all the same things as you? Or who is completely different from you, and yet somehow there’s a comforting rhythm to your conversations and the things that you can share with each other? Well, we think that feeling is one everyone should have – no matter what age they are.
Everyone deserves the gift of friendship.
In the last year, we have learned to value the meaning of everyday exchanges, and the difference it makes to have a conversation to look forward to that provides a change from the everyday routine. We’ve become more aware than ever about what a true privilege it is to have access to technology and communication devices. For some older people across the UK, these exchanges might just be the only conversation they have that day – or even that week – and that was before the pandemic. Retirement is something to look forward to, a time to truly make time our own and explore new opportunities – and we believe that the key to a fulfilling retirement is to ensure that it is full of friendship.
Here at the Civil Service Retirement Fellowship, we offer a variety of befriending services in addition to our national group network (which we hope to re-open up this year). Our befriending services have been there before, and throughout each lockdown, with our Phone Buddy Scheme and recently added Pen Pal scheme that connects befrienders and volunteers all over the UK.
We know the impact of our work when we hear our beneficiaries tell us about how much they look forward to those conversations and about the friendships created by phone calls across generations that make all the difference to an older person who may not get to speak to or see anyone else that day.
One of our beneficiaries said that he signed up for the befriending services ‘just for the company’ and found that what surprised him the most about it was just how much ‘he likes to socialise’. Another one of our beneficiaries told us that our befriending services allowed them to make friends with someone they consider to be a ‘super, super person’. Another told us how speaking to one of our befrienders is like ‘speaking with my granddaughter’.
That’s why we do what we do, and that’s why we have launched our Connect for Christmas campaign early this year: to help as many older people around the UK as possible receive the great gift of friendship. Know that whatever you can give makes a difference – a £5 donation could be the donation that covers the cost of a phone call from one of our befrienders matched with an older person who misses having someone to talk to.
We would love to have your help in making a difference, and if you have a fundraising idea that you would like to take on with your friends to support our work in providing friendship for others, then we would love to hear from you.
You can donate today to the Connect for Christmas campaign here: https://www.csrf.org.uk/Appeal/2021-national-appeal.
You can visit our fundraising page full of all the info you need to support us right here: https://www.csrf.org.uk/fundraising-ideas.
You can visit our befriending services webpages here if there is someone you know that we can help:
Phone Buddy Service – https://www.csrf.org.uk/Blog/fancy-some-friendship
Pen Pal Scheme – https://www.csrf.org.uk/pen-pal-scheme