Befriending is a service offering one-to-one companionship by trained volunteer befrienders to Spirasi service users. The aim of the service is to reduce isolation and loneliness and to provide support with integration in Irish society.
The Role of a Volunteer Befriender
- Provide companionship by meeting your befriendee once a week.
- Provide support which ranges from help with language and literacy, emotional and practical support to intercultural exchange.
- All volunteers are trained, Garda vetted and supported by the Befriending Officer
Why Become a Volunteer Befriender?
Our befriendees, volunteer befrienders, therapists and teachers attest to the benefits of befriending. It makes very real and tangible differences in befriendee’s lives.
“My befriender has helped me a lot to integrate into Irish society. Besides visiting interesting places and historical sights he tells me about Irish habits, history and Irish policy. Also he agreed to help me with my CV…Much easier to fight with separation, nostalgia and depression when you are not alone.’
“My befriender is the example of a true friend, she has played a great role in helping me to find accommodation and to complete my study successfully. When I am feeling alone I talk with her on phone, and arrange to meet for a coffee or tea, she is very kind, caring, warm and friendly. She makes me really forget the feeling of being far away from home.”
“It truly is a blessing being a friend to an Irish citizen for integration's sake and friendship generally. I am now out of direct provision. My befriendee contributed much in helping me get the house I now live in. Other than him being a referee, the landlord knew him. There is so much he really is helping with in my family. I have great respect for the man and grateful for this programme and wish that more people may benefit from it. Thank you.’
“Befriending has been such a worthwhile experience for me. Originally I was very happy to help a person who I felt must need support in every way, especially by showing simple kindness from the people in her host country. But it is I who have gained so much through the experience of working with my befriendee. She is a joy to meet and we have fun speaking English together, enjoying the many chats we have on lots of topics of interest to us both. Spirasi have given me great direction also. They have given all befrienders a serious induction programme and are always with us if we need their support”.
“I have linked in several clients with the Befriending Programme. I witness almost every day how important this project is in the rehabilitation process of each and every client. It fills the gaps between the client, the different services they have to attend and the organizations supporting the client and has visible therapeutic effect in clients’ lives. It also helps client rebuild trust and establish important relationships in the wider community, which is fundamentally important in our clients’ reintegration into Irish society.”
“As a tutor, I believe the more formal setting of the classroom and the more informal setting of the Befriending Programme complement each other entirely. As a unit they provide the perfect balance between exposure to the language and the chance to use that language actively and productively. Together they meet the full needs of a language learner. The learner can step away from the classroom into a welcoming environment where they are at ease to engage with the language at their pace and desire.”