Your gift of time could make such a difference to someone who needs a helping hand

Taking time to build friendships can help ease isolation for vulnerable members of the community

Taking time to build friendships can help ease isolation for vulnerable members of the community - Credit: Archant

Royston Volunteer Centre manager Denise Graham’s regular look at the voluntary sector in North East Herts

It’s that time of year when Christmas adverts are all around us – and one in particular this year is highlighting the need to reach out to those who are lonely.

So what about volunteering as a befriender or mentor and really making a difference to someone’s life?

Mentoring and befriending is a one-to-one, non-judgemental relationship where you volunteer your time to support and encourage someone.

Many people benefit from the support of a mentor/befriender at a time of change in their life or when they are socially isolated due to illness or old age.

Many volunteers will help over a long period of time, helping to build trust and a relationship. People who need guidance and help come from all walks of life and ages, from teenagers through to the elderly.

You should be prepared to dedicate a certain amount of your free time and energy, show a lot of commitment and be a good listener. As a volunteer mentor, you are there to encourage and support someone and as a befriender – to just be a friend, and make a new friend.

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There are many opportunities in our local community where you can get involved. These include community befriending schemes for isolated older people and befrienders for people who have sight or hearing loss, have an illness or special support needs.

You can help in a variety of ways – visiting people in their own homes, taking people out for coffee or an outing or by telephone. Contact us and we will put you in touch!

You can find the Royston & District Volunteer Centre in the Royston Town Hall Annexe, Melbourn Street, Royston, SG8 7DA

Phone 01763 243020, email or visit the website at