We usually hold two fundraising events each year. Our coffee mornings are always very popular and we raise a great deal of funds for our work. This year, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we have been unable to host our events and have really missed them – not only for the funds that we would have been able to raise but also being able to get out and about in the community and meeting people.
However, we are pleased to be able to share with three ways you can easily support us and raise funds for us – digitally!
When shopping on Amazon please go to Amazon Smile first and select West Norfolk Befriending. You will then be supporting WNB directly through any purchases that are made.
Once you’ve set it up simply shop at smile.amazon.co.uk and Amazon will donate to West Norfolk Befriending at no extra cost for you.
Going through Amazon Smile only takes extra seconds but is a way to support West Norfolk Befriending and our valuable work.
West Norfolk Wins
West Norfolk Wins is a weekly lottery run by King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council to support local charities in West Norfolk.
You can also fundraise for us and create a donation page on JustGiving to collect sponsorship and donations from friends, family and colleagues. Please get in touch if you are interested in fundraising for us, and we can support you in your fundraising efforts.
In view of the anticipated new legal restrictions that are expected to come into force on Thursday 5th November, we sadly, must suspend all planned one-to-one befriending visits and home assessments.
This decision is necessary to ensure that WNB is fully compliant with the law but also is intended to ensure, as far as possible, the health and safety of everyone at West Norfolk Befriending.
As a result, and for the time being, all befriending will take place via telephone (or internet platforms whether possible) and all volunteer meetings will be held online. We know that this may have a negative impact on clients and volunteers, but pleased be assured that WNB will continue to operate and will offer support as/when it can, in line with these new restrictions.
All staff will be working from home, but the office phone will continue to be manned, Monday to Friday (9:30am to 4:00pm). If you need any support, or simply wish to chat please ring: 01553 763500. Outside of these hours our answer phone will take up any messages, and someone will get back to you as soon as possible,
The situation will be reviewed in line with Government guidance on 2nd December and we will keep you informed.
Our local MP for North West Norfolk, James Wild, asked to visit us and find out more about what we do.
James said: “West Norfolk Befrienders is one of the brilliant local charities making a positive difference to our community. It was encouraging to hear how they have adapted to continue to support people during Covid-19 and by providing a listening ear helping give people a link to the outside world.” There’s more information about James’ visit on his website.
We are very grateful to have been donated 20 face visors. These have also been made by Michael Ford and were distributed to us by King’s Lynn Lions. At the moment we have no plans to resume face to face befriending visits but are very grateful for the donation of PPE to use when we can.
We have received these wonderful cards for residents at the four care homes we work with; Downham Grange Care Home, Burman House Care Home, Goodwins Hall Care Home and Fridhem Rest Home.
A very special thank you to Angela of Norfolk Linking Lives and the children of St Martins Primary School at Shouldham and the children at All Saints Primary School in Stoke Ferry. Also a huge thank you to the community around Downham Market as the cards were not exclusively from the school.
The cards have been beautifully designed with a little message inside. The cards were designed to be cheerful and bright so that the residents would feel happy when receiving them.
Sending these cards makes a huge difference to someone’s day and will hopefully reduce the feeling of being isolated from the outside world.
We’re delighted to be part of Operation No Cold Shoulder offering support to ease isolation in partnership with Age UK Norfolk, Community Action Norfolk, Creative Arts East and Future Projects. Funding from this project allows us to offer Befriending in North Lynn and Dersingham. More information about Operation No Cold Shoulder is available on the Community Action Norfolk website.
We are working with four Care Homes as part of the Care Home Connectors project, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, to reduce social isolation for residents.
We received ear protectors knitted by Anne Sayell via the Angels of Kings Lynn group and postcards from Paul Macro Photography. The ear protectors are for Care Home staff to increase comfort while wearing PPE and the postcards are for each resident to write and send to their loved ones during the Covid19 lockdown while visiting is restricted.
West Norfolk Befriending have teamed up with the UK’s biggest electricity distributor to match the company’s trained volunteers with older people who may be feeling isolated by COVID-19.
Key workers at UK Power Networks have partnered with charities to launch a telephone befriending service aimed at tackling social isolation during the coronavirus pandemic. UK Power Networks befrienders will phone them regularly during work time through the company’s Donate a Day scheme, which gives over 6,000 employees two paid days annually to volunteer.
Pippa May, chief executive of West Norfolk Befriending, said: “We are a tiny charity facing increasing demand for our services so it’s incredibly exciting to work with UK Power Networks to transform the service we offer and reduce social isolation at this difficult time.
“On average we work with frail people in their nineties who may have outlived family and friends or don’t have family nearby. They are often housebound, so isolation is always there, but increased by lockdown because the few visitors they had, such as hairdressers, can’t come anymore.
“It makes a real difference to their quality of life having someone to chat with, who has time to listen. Any family they do have may be carers, but a befriender listens to them. My hope is that at the end of this lockdown the community continues coming together to tackle isolation. It doesn’t have to cost anything.”
Each volunteer is background checked to safeguard people. A priority for UK Power Networks during the pandemic is taking extra care of people in vulnerable households in the rare event of a power cut. Some 1.87 million eligible households have signed its Priority Services Register for the extra services the company provides in such emergencies, up 6% in the last year.
Kerry Potter, consumer vulnerability manager at UK Power Networks, said: “We are excited to work with our existing charity partners to provide additional support at a time when their resources are stretched and more people are contacting them hoping to form a social connection at a time when connections are much more difficult to establish.
“These charities are providing an invaluable service to customers in our highest risk groups who would be eligible to join our Priority Services Register and typically may be struggling with their energy bills. People who have been shielding during the coronavirus outbreak will have an increased awareness of how their mental health is affected by social isolation.”
We were delighted to welcome Jennifer, UK Power Networks’ training support assistant, to our befrienders team. She’s written about her experience with us here:
Reaching out to people who are feeling vulnerable and alone has never been more important. So when my manager invited me to take part in UK Power Networks’ confidential new telephone befriending scheme, Donate by Dialling, I readily agreed to be connected with someone in need of kindness and friendship over the telephone at this difficult time.
Last week, following training and interviews, I was matched by a small charity, West Norfolk Befriending, with someone who wanted a friendly ear and to chat, something we may take for granted, but which others sadly lack.
I was born in Africa and moved across three continents before the age of nine, which gave me a lot of life experience. I have gained compassion, understanding and tolerance and have developed those qualities as I’ve got older.
My manager approached me as someone who she felt has the skills to take on this important role of supporting a vulnerable person in their home. It felt good to know that people felt I had right qualities to make a difference.
I have volunteered in different ways throughout my life. To volunteer is to give back. It’s really personal and quite subjective. We are all passing through this life and I believe that when we give something, we get something back ten-fold. It’s like a miracle happening, like an angel coming, just when you needed it.
West Norfolk Befriending is a really supportive charity which understands their customers’ needs and creates a supportive environment. I had two interviews before being matched with a person who has similar interests to me. We have family in the same areas. She has a dependent and is a carer for that person and I have an elderly mother and am a carer for her. We both enjoy gardening and the allotment.
We haven’t talked about those things yet and I spent our first call listening. She is chatty and my call gave her an opportunity to let it all out. It’s another outlet now for her. Before calling I find that meditating, for even five minutes, frees my mind so that I give her my full attention. I hope that my calls give her friendship, somewhere to park some of her anxieties and frustrations and know she has a friend at the other end of the phone to listen. She will know that I will call her regularly.
If you’re interested in volunteering with us, find out more and get in touch with us here.