Margaret dedicated her career to working in education, and her husband was a worker for the civil service. As the Civil Service Retirement Fellowship was established to ensure that both former civil servants and their dependants make the most of their retirement, Margaret was able to join us as one of our beneficiaries – and according to Margaret our Befriending Services are a ‘marvellous!’ addition to her life.

Living in a quiet place, where there are very few people passing by, the world can leave anyone feeling lonely as the days become almost overwhelmingly quiet. At 92, Margaret is rather housebound, and this environment can leave her hoping for even just the sight and sound of others – and that’s where the Civil Service Retirement Fellowship steps in, and does its most important work. In transforming these quiet days into days that it is so wonderful to hear Margaret describe as having ‘great joy’. This ‘great joy’ is provided by both of our National Befriending Services.

We all want to contribute to making the world a bit better, and what better way than in simply making someone’s day a bit brighter? Our Befriending Services prove that the greatest thing we have to give is our time to one another: to listen, and recognize the ways in which we all feel the same loneliness from time to time and how there is never a time in life that is not made better by making a new friend.

We are encouraged throughout our childhood to always try and make new friends – and it might seem intimidating at first but one of the best things about friendship is that it can happen anywhere at any time with anyone – and it is always life-enriching, so we should never stop trying to make new friends!

Margaret so looks forward to visits from her befriender who is one of our volunteers from the National Visitors Network. It really is the little things that make the biggest impact in our lives, as Margaret says that what she most looks forward to is simply the ‘joy of having a visitor’ - someone to just ‘have a cup of tea with’. As Margaret’s befriender is ‘about the same age as my son’, Margaret never expected that someone so different to her would share ‘so much in common!’.

Our Befriending Service is set up so that befrienders are well matched based in their interests, and is made as easy as possible by our short telephone based training session followed by being given an information pack that answers any questions a volunteer may have – we even arrange the first visit for you, so that the new friends can decide based on how that goes (and according to the pair’s own schedules) when they want to meet next and how often. Visits always take place in the beneficiaries’ home, so that they are not restricted in their social contact by being mostly based at home.

If you would like to make a new friend and have a new visitor to look forward to, or if you would like to volunteer to become that new friend and have someone new to visit – then we would love to hear from you! You can call us on: 020 8691 7411 or if you prefer, you can send us an email at: [email protected]

Volunteering or becoming a beneficiary really can be as easy as making a new friend - and no matter what age you are - a new friend makes a big difference