Sophie’s Befriender Story

Sophie, a 19 year old student, started volunteering in November 2017. She came across Aberlour through an online search for voluntary opportunities in her local area, hoping to develop her skills and experience to accompany her university studies:

“I wanted to volunteer in order to gain greater experience of working with individuals with disabilities, increase my own self-confidence and to develop a greater understanding of the challenges that many young adults with disabilities may face. I felt these experiences would be beneficial in my studies and future career.”

Sophie volunteers as a befriender, meaning she meets with a young person regularly to engage in social activities and help to develop their skills, confidence and self-esteem in a person-centred way:

“I was attracted to Aberlour because of their underpinning values which situate the service-user at the centre of all they do. A usual day befriending involves my befriendee choosing activities, things like reading books, puzzles or listening to CD’s, or going out to his community disco or shopping. One of his favourite activities is Skittles. He will either play with the intention of knocking all the skittles down or, if in a humorous mood, will not aim and laugh at how far off his throw was.”

Sophie has developed a positive relationship with her befriendee:

“I think what I enjoy most about volunteering is being able to build a relationship with him and seeing it develop over a period of time. We now both look forward to our visits and never leave without having laughed. I believe he finds my regular visits enjoyable and looks forward to them. Having maintained a person-centred approach throughout, I hope this will have made him feel a greater sense of empowerment and confidence.”

Volunteering has also allowed Sophie to succeed in developing her own skills:

“Since beginning volunteering, I have increased communication skills which have provided me with a greater sense of confidence when working with others. Volunteering is definitely a worthwhile experience in which you will gain just as much from volunteering as the person you are working with.”

Find out more about volunteering with Aberlour>>