“She has become a good friend and planning and partaking in our outings has given me a purpose at times when I have felt very low due to different things going on in my life. I think there’s certainly an element of escapism from my life because the few hours we spend together every month I am totally focused on her having fun and enjoying herself and so everything else is on hold. I’ve had loads of great experiences and new opportunities too. It’s something I love and am very proud of and always enjoy talking about!”

Business Casework Officer Kate joined Befriend a Child in 2015 as part of our befriending programme. Kate was previously a member of Stonehaven running club where she heard about an opportunity to take part in a sponsored event for us. Although she couldn’t attend the event, she continued to research Befriend a Child and decided she loved the idea of becoming a befriender, so she reached out to us for more information.

Kate was matched with 5-year-old Regan who was referred to Befriend a Child as she had experienced bereavements of close family members which affected her confidence and self-esteem leaving her feeling socially isolated and in need of a positive adult role model. It was hoped having a befriender would help build Regan’s confidence and self-esteem whilst also giving her a positive adult role model and friend who she could confide in.

Kate and Regan love taking part in outdoor activities together, with playing football, swimming and going to the beach being firm favourites. When lockdown started the pair could no longer go on their favourite outdoor trips, but this didn’t stop them getting creative with what they could do virtually over video call.

“We went swimming, we donned goggles and dunked our heads in the sink! We baked together, we made slow cooker fudge, I baked a cake and she made rice crispy cakes. This went down a treat! We also made no entry signs for our baking which went really well. Regan’s mum got her a kit to show me some experiments in her garden involving mentos and fizzy drinks!”

Having a befriender has given Regan stability and routine in her life whilst also giving her the opportunity to experience many activities that she may otherwise have missed out on. Kate has noticed dramatic changes in Regan since their befriending relationship began, she has come out of her shell and grown in confidence. Thanks to the trusting relationship she has formed with Kate, Regan is learning to form positive trusting relationships with other adults in her life too.

“It’s so wonderful to have seen her grow and change over the 5.5 years. She’s so different to the painfully shy girl who wouldn’t even speak when I first met her – she’s so much more confident and rarely stops talking now!! She’s learnt so much from stuff we’ve done and has grown up so much. She’s become really caring and expresses gratitude often for the things we do.”

If you have been inspired by Kate and Regan’s story find out more about joining us a volunteer here: