With demand for their services growing, local children’s charity, Befriend a Child, have launched an appeal to find new befrienders and mentors in Aberdeenshire.

In the wake of COVID-19, more children and young people are in need of a befriender or mentor, and the charity is committed to ensuring it can support those most in need in the local community. 

They are now looking for kind, caring and reliable people to bring fun, positivity, and new experiences to the lives of young people across Aberdeenshire. Befriend a Child provides all volunteers with full training and support, so volunteers don’t need to have any previous experiences working with children.

The charity receives referrals from a number of sources including social work, education, health and third sector organisations with partners citing social isolation, child’s mental health and parental mental health as just some of the reasons for a child’s referral.

“Currently we have 50 children in need of a befriender or mentor, and we’d love to get them matched and start making a real difference to the children’s lives,’ – Jean Gordon, Head of Operations, Befriend a Child.

Befrienders meet with their young people twice a month, these outings help increase their self-esteem and confidence and gives them experiences they may be unable to have otherwise.

Many of the children and young people enjoy visits to the beach, the cinema, walks in the park and helping them learn new skills, build their confidence, whilst improving their wellbeing and building a positive relationship with an adult role model.

It’s not just the children who benefit from the relationship, the volunteers also feel they gain a great deal from the experience. Craig Duncan started befriending in 2001 after a history of working with young people and takes pride in his involvement after all these years later:

“Befriending is the biggest achievement of my life, knowing I’ve been a positive influence in someone’s life whilst creating some fantastic memories and experiences. I would recommend it to anyone. It’s a great way to add sunshine into your own life as well as doing the same for others. Many of these Children just simply need a friend and so it’s not what you do that is important but the fact that you are doing something together."- Craig Duncan, volunteer befriender.

For more information about volunteering with Befriend a Child, email [email protected] or visit Befriend a Child’s website at www.befriendachild.org.uk.