Befriending – Changes


Who are we?

Changes is a community health project based in East Lothian, here to help achieve and maintain positive mental health and wellbeing.

What do we offer?

At Changes we offer a wide range of wellbeing services including but not limited to:
One-to-one therapy.
Support groups and courses.
Training maintain positive mental health and wellbeing.

Volunteer opportunities

We aim to help with varying challenges such as:

• Stress
• Low mood
• Depression
• Anxiety
• Negative thinking

Offering a plethora of wellbeing activities means individuals and communities of East Lothian can find their therapeutic outlet through:

• Cycling
• Tai chi
• Mental health swims
• Wellbeing walks
• And more!

What is befriending?

Befriending at its core is all about warmth, empathy, and companionship. The aim with befriending is to support individuals suffering from mild to moderate stressors, such as loneliness, and aid their mental health and wellbeing by pairing them with a befriender. By doing so both people can engage in mutual hobbies and interests within the community. Befriending is not a form of counselling or therapy but is a partnership that can generate positive change into the daily routines of individuals.

Befriending with us

Our befriending service ‘Well Connected’ aims to target isolation loneliness and lack of social connections in individuals aged 18+ residing in East Lothian. Since the pandemic there has been a significant rise in social anxieties, worries and loneliness across all ages. Our objective therefore is to pair a volunteer with a befriendee for one-to-one befriending. Whether this be in person face-to-face, through Zoom or telephone as to accommodate for the comfort and ease for both individuals. From going on walks, to getting a coffee, to chatting for an hour on the phone: our befriending services aim to cater the wider community to make it easier to implement positive changes on people’s mental health.

Your role

• As a volunteer you will build a compassionate and trusting relationship with your matched befriendee suffering from loneliness, isolation, and/or a lack of social connections within East Lothian.
• Being matched based on hobbies and interests as well as location means you will find it easy and natural taking on this befriending role without having to travel far or push you out of your comfort zone.
• You are not there to meet all the befriendees needs. Boundaries and understanding your own limits of what you can provide is important.

What to expect

A befriending visit will usually look as follows:

• Last one hour per week.
• At a pre-planned location/venue.
• Pre-arranged video call.
• Pre-arranged telephone call.
• Mutually agreed time scale.

You and your matched befriendee will have the time to have a friendly and compassionate chat while engaging in the community, with the hopes of relieving the befriendee’s feelings of isolation and loneliness. During your time together you will:

• Build a strong rapport and relationship.
• Implement positive change.
• Create a trusting and supportive connection.
• Engage in like-minded interests and hobbies.
• Have fun!

How do I apply to volunteer?

Contact the befriending coordinator or direct to the Changes office and you will be given an application form to apply. There may a period of waiting but your details will be added to our database, and you will then be contacted by the befriending coordinator.

Please download the handbook to obtain full information about the role: handbook for befriending volunteers

For any questions or general queries feel free to contact us:
Changes office: / 0131 653 3977
Befriending Coordinator: / 07548740741