Dumfries and Galloway Befriending Project is a local charity which offers an early intervention service across the region for eight to 18 year olds.
It recruits and trains adult volunteers who are, in turn, matched one-to-one with individual young people. Once matched, the befriender commits to spending a few hours a week or fortnight with ‘their’ young person, spending time building up a relationship and taking part in shared activities.
Children and young people referred to the Project may be isolated within the community or experiencing difficulties at home or school. The time spent with an adult befriender can provide vital individual attention and release from day-to-day pressures.
Having and working with a befriender can help the young person tackle difficulties before they get too big. The young people benefit from the energy and enthusiasm of their befrienders and gain confidence from forming a positive relationship with a supportive adult.
Volunteer befrienders are men and women from all walks of life. They may be a student, a parent, or an older person. The most important factors are that they have an interest in young people, are reliable and have some time to spare.
The Project has found over the past 20 years that having a befriender who will commit to spending a few hours a week or fortnight – to share enjoyable activities or simply have time to chat can make a huge impact in a young persons life.