This is a story from a befriender and her impressions of her befriendee. They have been matched for nine months.
“When I first met Miranda she was depressed and had recently visited a doctor having had suicidal thoughts – it was the doctor who suggested she make contact with LASSN.
Miranda had recently arrived in the UK and was very isolated. She had limited English and found everyday life challenging and as a result barely left the house. I initially helped with practical issues – getting a bus pass for her son to get to school, free school lunches, clothing, bedding, etc. and items to make the house more comfortable.
I took Miranda to food banks initially but then explored how to shop for fresh, cheap food. When many of the practicalities were sorted and more trust had developed I started taking Miranda and her sons on days out to improve their well-being. I also spent time helping Miranda understand and feel less anxious about her asylum process.
Nine months on Miranda is now a different person – she speaks good English and although she remains fearful about what the future holds, she is starting to enjoy life in the UK.”
Achievements in 2016/17
- We matched 51 volunteers were matched with 56 asylum seekers and refugees.
- We went on trips and activities to places like Roundhay Park, Leeds Museums, Saltaire and enabled refugees and befrienders to find out more about Leeds and to make greater social connections.
- All reviews of befriending support have demonstrated either reduced isolation, improved physical and mental wellbeing, or greater understanding of UK culture
The Befriending project underwent a full evaluation in 2015 and can be downloaded here.
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