Category Archive :News

West Norfolk Befriending is delighted to have received £8,885 funding from the Norfolk Community Foundation’s Covid-19 Local Resilience Fund. This allows the charity to support more people in West Norfolk through short-term telephone befriending during the Coronavirus pandemic.

West Norfolk Befriending is a small local charity who works with socially isolated older people in the West of Norfolk covering the Borough Council area from Hunstanton to King’s Lynn down to Downham Market and surrounding villages. We match trained volunteers with socially isolated older people with the aim of reducing isolation and improving their overall health.

‘We have been working since 2002 with a focus on increasing face to face contact to ease social isolation for older people in West Norfolk. With the Coronavirus outbreak we have had to rapidly change the way that we work. Our existing clients and volunteers have adapted to telephone befriending and this funding from the Norfolk Community Foundation allows us to expand our telephone befriending offer to clients that have already been referred to us and are on our waiting list.’

Norfolk Community Foundation has established the Covid-19 Community Response Fund to support local charities working hard on the ground to keep vulnerable people safe and well.

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Care Home Connectors is a new project funded by the National Lottery Community Fund to reduce isolation felt by residents in Care Homes. The project endeavours to match volunteers with residents who will visit with them fortnightly for approximately an hour for light refreshment and quality conversation. The project also runs intergenerational sessions with Friend in Deed, plus information and family support sessions hosted by West Norfolk Carers.

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All of our one-to-one visits, befriender support meetings, community events including coffee mornings and fundraisers and new client assessments have been cancelled.  This decision was not taken lightly and is for the safety of everyone involved at West Norfolk Befriending. The board of trustees will review the situation regularly.

West Norfolk Befriending is offering telephone befriending to all current clients. Thankyou to the continue support of our team of volunteers. All staff are now working from home and the office phone has been diverted. Please contact us on 01553 763500. We continue to support our clients and our team of volunteers.

Stay safe and stay at home.

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A little bit of funding news:

Following a public vote in Jan and Feb 2019 we received £2,000 through the Tesco Bags for Life scheme. This money funded a staff post in Downham Market. This funding has now come to an end but helped us to increase our volunteers and the clients we can support in the Downham Market area.

We are very grateful to have received a donation of £700 from the Vancouver Round Table. This donation will allow us to organise a social event for our clients to help ease their isolation and loneliness. These events provide our clients with the opportunity to socialise with their befrienders in a different environment and also meet other clients and volunteers.

Our fantastic supporter Andrew raised over £1050 for West Norfolk Befriending following his half marathon in Cambridge in March. Here he is with his medal after running the race in a brilliant 2 hours, 9 minutes and 46 seconds! His fundraising will allow us to upgrade our computer equipment. Thankyou very much to Andrew and everyone who sponsored him.

If you’d like to fundraise for us or to give a donation to help us to support socially isolated older people in West Norfolk please take a look at our justgiving profile.

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In view of the current situation regarding the spread of the coronavirus our Board met on Monday 16th March and sadly decided to suspend our one-to-one visits, community events and new assessments.  This decision was not taken lightly and is for the safety of everyone involved at West Norfolk Befriending.  This means that all one-to-one visits, befriender support meetings, coffee mornings and fundraisers will be cancelled.  We have spoken to all our clients today and followed this up with a letter explaining the situation so they are aware that volunteers will not be visiting them for the time being.

Volunteers have been asked not to visit but will, where possible, continue making contact  by phone.  Our office will be staffed Monday – Friday 9.30am – 4pm to enable us to support our clients and volunteers. Outside these hours our answer phone will pick up any messages.

West Norfolk Befriending is concerned about the impact this will have on people’s isolation but our priority has to be the safety of both our clients and volunteers and we are sure that you will understand this. The situation will be reviewed in a month and we will keep you informed.

Alan Hayes
Chair of Trustees

Pippa May
CEO

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We’re delighted to announce that one of our supporters, Andrew, is now training for the Cambridge half marathon and has decided to run for West Norfolk Befriending.

Andrew will be running in memory of his grandmother, Kate. In Andrew’s words, “She lived a long and happy life surrounded by a family who loved her. The work West Norfolk Befriending do means a lot to me, my Nan was extremely lucky to have such a big family. Many aren’t as blessed.”

Thank you Andrew for sharing your story, and for choosing to support us. It means a lot to us and will make a real difference to the lives of isolated older people in West Norfolk. Over the coming weeks we will be sharing updates on Andrew’s progress as he trains for the half marathon.

Have a look at his fundraising page here.

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ASK LILY (Living Independently in Later Years) is a directory of valuable information about services to support older adults in the community. From money matters to transport, health and care homes, LILY is the first place to look when you want to know what help is out there.

We are a LILY delivery partner and work closely with LILY in the West Norfolk community. We attend community events and visit people to help them access the wealth of information and services LILY have available.

Visit their website or call us for a chat to find out how we can support you or your loved one.

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We were excited to feature on BBC Radio Norfolk last week as part of its special series of broadcasts to launch its Volunteer of the Year awards. The show invited us to talk about how and why we work with volunteers, and gave us the opportunity to unveil our new Care Home Connectors project.

Hear from Chief Executive Pippa about what we do, and from our new member of staff Amanda, who talks about Care Home Connectors.

Our volunteers breathe life into the organisation, helping us to help vulnerable clients and provide a lifeline to them through their isolation. We’ve been working with the community for the past 15 years and always welcome new volunteers, whether it’s offering our core service as Befrienders or providing other much-valued skills.

You can find the show here, and go straight to our slot in the show at 01:26:00.

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We receive lots of wonderful letters from our clients and we wanted to take the opportunity to share some of them with you. Below you’ll find a recent letter that we found particularly moving, written to this lady’s Befriender. Pippa, our CEO, says, “It was a lovely surprise to receive a poem and such a nice way to hear how our clients feel about our service.” We’ll let the poem speak for itself.


It wasn’t just because I was lonely. I lied!  Yes it was!  The darkness was always there, waiting, creeping stealthily from the shadows to encompass me and squeeze the tears from my eyes. I had thought I could sing my way through bereavement and joined two choirs but the pain lingered on. “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.”  I whispered, “Not me!” I was just a miserable old git, the mirror confirmed it.

“When I needed a neighbour were you there?” I asked. I wrapped myself in a cocoon of self-pity and could not escape through the tangled threads. “What is this life if full of care?” wrote W.H.Davies.

“Pick yourself up, dust yourself down and start all over again.” I sang along with Frank Sinatra. Easier said than done!

No longer able to drive left me devastated. My only trips out were to the hospital. Sitting waiting for hours just for five minutes with a doctor; or worse being admitted and treated as though my brain had already left my crumpled body was humiliating. I watched the telly too much. I searched the internet for help. So many phone calls. It was not in vain.  In October ’18 my guardian angel answered my call. Hooray! I could stop telling Mrs May what to do or shout answers to quiz programmes. CAROL had arrived!  She shared my troubles, laughed at my jokes and made me realise that my nightmares were over.

It was ok that my bathroom had flooded, my microwave had died and my washing machine was washed out. I even coped with a power cut stranding me in the dark and trapping me in my electric recliner chair. My young carers thought this event was hilarious and did not understand my terror. They believe that whatever was stopping me running a marathon or swimming the channel was curable. Sadly not!

Now I could share my experiences with Carol and tragedy became bearable. I began to see the funny side of life again. I could share events in my life. Tell her about my distant family; my uncle who  survived the Somme and left me a treasure of his written and voice recordings of his experiences.

Life has to go on but there are times when being alone  causes me to panic. A trouble shared is a trouble halved is very true, thanks to Carol.

Thank you to all at West Norfolk Befriending for helping me make my days left on this planet a time to enjoy.

To  Carol, “Thank you for being my friend.”

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Everyone’s welcome at Sandringham Café & Restaurant on the last Monday of the month at 11am (except bank holidays). You’ll find a warm welcome waiting for you! There’s no need to book and no obligation to attend – just drop in for some friendly faces and company over food.

Based in the beautiful grounds of the Sandringham Estate, our monthly event is the perfect opportunity to get out and about while trying some of the delicious meals and cake available to purchase. Our volunteers have a regular table where we look forward to meeting you and spending time getting to know each other.

According to a recent survey by Sainsbury’s, “29 per cent of adults reported eating alone most or all of the time”. Yet eating with others can offer huge benefits to our sense of well-being through socialising and a shared experience. In our everyday work at West Norfolk Befriending, eating alone is something we come across especially often among older people who live on their own and we really wanted to offer a way for people to reconnect with others through food. That’s why we are pleased to run this lovely event each month.

If you have any questions feel free to get in touch with us.

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