Claire began her volunteering experience with Aberlour over ten years ago.
“At the time I was working within Youth Clubs with groups. I was looking to get some experience working one to one with young people, and I thought Aberlour was a good organisation. I felt that the work they did was very important, and that they also provided good support to volunteers”.
Claire volunteers as a Befriender with Aberlour Sycamore Residential Services, and has been matched with three girls during her time volunteering with Aberlour:
“I have been matched with my current befriendee – my third young person – since she was in Primary 7. We usually go out once a month, for something to eat and an activity of her choosing. When she was younger, we did thinks like crazy golf or bowling and she would come to the youth club. Now she is older, we do things like shopping or get our nails done.”
Claire highlights that it’s not the activity that matters the most, but the time spent together:
“I would say it’s the talking that is what has been the most important thing. Being able to support her and share things I went through at her age to help her know she was not alone. I could empathise with her. She could talk to me about anything and I would listen. We have built up trust and developed a good bond.”
Over the last year, Claire has supported her befriendee through her first pregnancy and preparing for her baby arriving:
“I’ve enjoyed seeing my befriendee grow over the last year and develop as a young adult. She’s recently had a baby, I’ve enjoyed supporting her through her pregnancy and have been given advice by the Aberlour Perinatal Befriending Service. Due to COVID-19 I’ve not been able to see her, and the plans for supporting her following the birth of her first child haven’t been able to happen but we’ve been keeping in touch.”
Through befriending, Claire has developed her own skills and experience:
“Volunteering is extremely rewarding and great experience if you are looking for a role working with young people. You don’t need to know what to do or what activities are in your area because you will learn, there is lots of support from staff and other volunteers.”
“It’s been amazing to be part of my befriendee’s life for all that time and we’ve been through her highs and lows together. She had taught me a lot and I love spending time with her.”
“She knows I’ll be around for her as long as she wants me to be, even when she moved on from Aberlour.”
Aberlour Sycamore Service