Volunteers' Week 2021 - Kate's Story

27th May 2021

Name: Kate Webb

Age: 40

Occupation: Business Casework Officer, Marine Scotland

 

Befriending since: September 2015 

 

Can you tell us a bit about where you heard about the opportunity to become a volunteer befriender and why you decided to get involved? 

I was a member of the Stonehaven running club and an email came round to all looking for people to run the Baker Hughes 10K to raise money for the charity. As I remember I don’t think I ended up being able to do it but I looked at the Befriend a Child website and decided it looked like a great charity and got in touch to find out more about volunteering.

  

What impact do you think having a befriender has had on your befriendee? 

I think it has been an important part of her life for the past almost 5.5 years. We have built a great friendship and have lots of fun together. She’s got to do loads of different activities, a lot of which she wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do otherwise. She’s really caring towards me as well and does things to cheers me up and gets her mum to send me photos of important things she wants to share with me – like first days back at school and if she’s baked or grown something or having fun in the snow. I think it’s really good she’s got someone external from the family to care and think about. She’s also got a lot of stability and routine from it which is really important for her and our annual outings like parties and theatre trips really give her lots of nice things to look forward too.

 

Do you see a difference in them in terms of confidence, new skills and their progression into young adulthood? 

Absolutely dramaticallyIt’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. 

 

What do you think the impact would have been if Befriend a Child did not exist? 

She would have lost out on lots of fun and different experiences and her friendship with me (and likewise!). I think I am very different from her mum and mum’s partner and so she gets a different perspective on life and gets to learn about my passions and experiences. I think she would have missed out on that. I also think she found it hard to trust when we first met and I like to think that because she has come to trust me it has helped her form other positive relationships with other adults in her life.

 

Did you set any goals at the start of your Befriending relationship that you wanted to achieve together?

I’m not really a goal focused person, but after our first outing which was a semi disaster (at least by my expectations!) I really wanted to gain that little person’s trust and I tried lots of different things to achieve this over time.

 

What impact has being a befriender had on you? 

Such a hard question to answer! A lot though is the first thing that springs to mind. 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 J

 

Has your friendship changed or enriched your life and helped you learn new skills? 

Absolutely changed it for the better and enriched it – I just wish I’d done it before! 

 

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of becoming a befriender? 

Do it now 100%! 

 

Thank you for sharing your story with us Kate!

If Kate's story has left you feeling inspired this Volunteers' Week and you'd like to apply to become a volunteer befriender please get in touch by emailing volunteer@befriendachild.org.uk for more information and an application.