21st November 2018
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Befriending scheme celebrates 15 years

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The Shetland Befriending Scheme is hosting a soup and sweet and raffle fund-raiser to mark 15 years of the service.

Project co-ordinator Lynn Tulloch says it is a significant milestone for the service which has supported 402 matches and recruited 308 volunteers since its inception. There continues to be regular demand for the provision.

Lynn Tulloch. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Befriending scheme co-ordinator Lynn Tulloch. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Mrs Tulloch has reflected on how the project has evolved and changed over the time she has been in the job. It’s also a time she has used to take into account and thank the large amount of people who have involved with the service over 15 years.

She said: “It is absolutely fantastic that there continues to be a great interest from people Shetlandwide to volunteer with the scheme. Last year 31 new volunteers were recruited to the scheme and this year there are another seven new volunteers who are in the matching process.

“Volunteers are people from all walks of life who engage with young people, young adults and older people on a regular basis either on a weekly or fortnightly basis for a set period of time. They participate in a whole range of activities and through this, the young people’s skills are enhanced and developed so that they increase their ability to move forward positively with their future and with the older people they are able to continue to be active members of their community.”

Mrs Tulloch has been involved in full delivery of the service on the ground over the years but its expansion has meant she is more ‘hands off’ and is directly responsible for its overall operation. She manages the team of five staff and takes the lead in securing funding and developing the service.

The befriending service was developed in 2000 out of a need identified by the children’s panel and has grown to meet demand. Initially it targeted seven to 15-year-olds. It was expanded to include those aged 16 to 25 in early 2005.

Funding was secured in August 2008 to include young people with additional support needs, learning difficulties and or disability to access mainstream activities in the seven to 15 years age group. Further development occurred in 2010 with the expansion to provide befriending to over-60s.

In 2013 the service was accredited for Quality in Befriending (QiB) and recognised in the Volunteer Friendly Award. Both are valid until 2016.

Mrs Tulloch said the scheme would like to thank its funders, Voluntary Action Shetland for on-going support and all the volunteers.

“Thank you so much for your input, it is greatly appreciated.”

There is a soup and sweet event tomorrow – 24th June – from noon to 2pm at the Baptist Church, Lerwick. “Come by for a lovely feed, buy a raffle ticket and hopefully you will win one of our lovely prizes!” said Mrs Tulloch, who also urges people to like the service on Facebook.
Contact: 01595 743907 or e-mail: befriending@shetland.org. Website: www.shetland-communities.org/shetland-befriending.

About Peter Johnson

Reporter for The Shetland Times. I have also worked as an employed and freelance reporter and editor for a variety of print and broadcast media outlets and as as a freelance photographer and film maker/cameraman. In addition to journalism, I have experience in construction, oil analysis, aquaculture, fisheries, the health service and oral history.

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