Jo Swinson MP has thanked East Dunbartonshire ‘Befrienders’ for their efforts and commended them for the valuable role they play in helping the vulnerable.
Jo met the Befrienders yesterday, as they gathered for an evening boat cruise on the Forth & Clyde Canal. She was joined by Elaine Smith, Manager of the Befriending Service, and Julien Crispin, East Dunbartonshire Volunteer Centre’s new manager.
The event was organised as a ‘thank you’ to the volunteers for the work they have done since the service was established in 1999, and to welcome new volunteers in the Befrienders.
Jo commented, “People who spend time helping others, through schemes such as the Befrienders, should be warmly congratulated. From talking last night with the volunteers it is clear that they often enjoy their Befriending and feel a great deal of satisfaction from making a positive contribution to the lives of those they Befriend.
“It was a lovely idea to get together all the Befrienders to socialise, and be thanked for their work. The gorgeous summer evening was the perfect backdrop for a relaxing sail, and a well deserved celebration for the work of the volunteers and staff.”
The Befriending Service is linked to East Dunbartonshire Volunteer Centre. The service recruits and trains Befrienders from all walks of life, who are willing give up their time to support an older or disabled adult to take up a social or recreational activity, share a meal, go for a drive or a walk in order to brighten their day.
There are over 40 Befrienders involved in the service, which is funded for the next 3 years jointly by EDC Social Work and Greater Glasgow NHS as well as trust funding from Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland and The Robertson Trust.
Commenting on Jo’s visit Elaine Smith said, “Because Befrienders are volunteering in a solitary role, coming together in this way is important to allow the sharing of experiences. Socialising helps volunteers to cope with the common problems they encounter.”
“Having Jo along helped them realise that the wider community, as well as the local MP, recognises and really appreciates the work they do.”
If you would like to get involved with the Befriending service, contact Elaine Smith on 0141 578 6681