The Befriending Scheme has succeeded for 26 years thanks to our volunteers. They give their time, energy and enthusiasm to help our members thrive by being Befrienders, Hub volunteers, Fundraising or helping in our office.
On this page we will be telling the stories of some of our volunteers, who will share their stories about volunteering
Fundraising – Laura & Steven
Laura and Steven are brother and sister and have a deep family connection to TBS. Laura’s brother-in-law is one of our members and a regular at the hub where she also volunteers. Steven works locally in the community, helping people to enjoy their leisure time and learn to swim. Steven has been a regular fundraising volunteer for TBS, hosting bake sales and taking part in sponsored sporting events.
This year, both decided to tackle the Great East Swim, with Steven going for the full course and Laura the 1 Mile race. Together they raised over £1000 for TBS in the last year through their dedication and efforts and their enthusiasm has rubbed off on people they work with every day.
We spoke to them about the Swim and why they chose to be fundraisers for TBS.
What made you want to be a fundraiser?
Steven: “For me it was Laura’s involvement and I could see how it’s made her a lot more happier and she’s been welcomed and comfortable at the group…it’s mainly time constraints as I have to be available for work as it’s on a call basis, I do get fixed hours but a lot of my work is on call.”
Laura: “I wanted to give a bit more back to TBS, I felt you guys had done so much for me and it would be nice to do something in return.”
How does it feel to get others involved in your fundraising?
Steven: “It’s really nice to see, I’m really lucky in that I get to interact with all my customers and they’re lovely and happy to get involved through baking or buying cakes etc.”
Laura: “It’s good to see other people are blossoming. We don’t just help members, but also help volunteers. You see everyone get relaxed and be so accepting.”
Are there any events you’d like to do?
Steven: “I’ve spoken to Laura about doing a Skydive next year, It’s quite an adrenaline rush and when you do it without a cause you might sit on the edge and wonder if you really want to do it. If you’re doing it for a charity and people have put money into it…you have to do it.”
Laura: “I’ve been thinking about a Motorcycle run, as lot of motorcycle people are very into charity work… We could visit each different group and say hello… We could on a Saturday for example, plan a route and then go to the next group all over Suffolk.”
Who do you feel has helped you the most while volunteering?
Steven: I think everyone has been really supportive; they’ve done anything they can to help with time and expense to help you through.
Laura: It’s hard to single people out but I’ve had a lot of support making cakes for the bake sale we ran, members have sponsored me and Tash & Nicky are always there for advice when I need it.
What have the challenges been?
Steven: Having the time to do the practice and work needed for the Swim, but it’s been great people have helped us along the way.
Laura: Doing the swim there were some difficulties as it’s a lot different and you worry if you can do the event. Cramp was an issue and I even found a carpet burn from my swimming cap.I think getting everyone together and involved to help keep the groups and cause alive so they can build and grow is really important.
Why should people raise funds for TBS over another charity?
Steven: A lot of the time other charities tend to focus on death and sadness and it seems that not much progress is made. This is about life, helping people to enjoy their lives and get something out of living. To be active and enjoy each other.
Laura: What kind of life is it not to have a friend to talk to and confide in? In our family it helped so much to hear the stories of my link and the people at the hub, it’s that putting a smile on someone’s face helps them keep on fighting.
A Big Thank You to Laura & Steven for their wonderful efforts for TBS and our members.
Charlotte is 19 and has volunteered for TBS for over a year, starting out at our Sudbury Hub. Charlotte was very quiet when she joined but soon settled in and her confidence grew massively.
Since then, Charlotte has organised and run her own craft sale to raise funds for us and joined the Suffolk Switched On project, which saw her visit vulnerable people in their homes to advice on reducing energy usage and their bills.
2016 has been an amazing year for Charlotte, with her winning not one, but TWO major awards for her efforts!
In September she was named The Sophie Bavington Young Volunteer Award by TBS in recognition of the massive strides she has made in her own life and the wonderful work she has done. Just weeks later, Charlotte was named as the recipient of The Andrew Towers Award for Young Volunteer of the Year by Community Action Suffolk!
Charlotte collected her award with her parents and TBS representatives at a ceremony held in Stowmarket.
We are very proud of Charlotte and all she has achieved and we look forward to seeing her continue her journey to success.
One-To-One Befriending – David & John
David has been a member of TBS for 3 years, having been introduced to us by a fellow member. David was very lonely & would often sit in the house with little to do. After joining our Sudbury Group, he quickly settled in and began to explore the other groups.
Music is one of David’s favourite pastimes and you can often find him belting out a tune at the hub or even in public. He performed with fellow TBS members in our Acoustic stand at Party In The Park 2016 in Sudbury!
Football is David’s other great love, especially Liverpool FC and he loves to watch games. It took a little time to find the right befriender for him but when John joined us at the end of 2015 and visited the hub, they hit it off straight away, bonding over their shared love of the beautiful game.
After going through our linking process, David & John now regularly meet up for social activities. John has embraced TBS and it’s work through both coming to our hub groups regularly and by joining our board of Trustees, helping to shape and steer TBS as we grow. David’s confidence has grown in leaps and bounds since he’s been linked with John, he’s even begun a part-time job!
Recently, John & David visited Colchester United on behalf of TBS. They helped us by talking to fans about TBS and how befriending can help. Good humour and smiles helped overcome the weather being unpleasant. It was a special day as the club invited them to watch the game, which was David’s first ever at a stadium!
While the result didn’t go Colchester’s way, losing 3-0 on the day – David & John were treated to seeing some lovely goals and were able to take part in the Remembrance observations. Both thoroughly enjoyed their time and have made plans to visit John’s beloved Ipswich Town AND Anfield together in the future.
Could YOU be a One-To-One Befriender? Contact us on [email protected] to find out how you can help make a difference!
Hub Volunteering – Kayde
Kayde has been a hub volunteer at Ipswich for nearly a year and has really become a big part of the Hub. She volunteers while studying and makers a big difference to the members with her positivity. Recently Kayde has been helping us to recruit new volunteers in the town, both at University Of Suffolk & the town centre.
Kayde is a great example of how Volunteering with TBS can fit around studies and help build your skills and confidence.
Could YOU be a Hub Volunteer? Contact us on [email protected] to find out how you can help make a difference!