Bilingual Telephone Befriending – SIS Launches a New Service

SIS is working in partnership with Together Co Befriending to upscale services to enable isolated and vulnerable people with language needs to benefit from this valuable service.

We recognise that people with language needs can feel particularly isolated.  They often have few people they can connect with because of the language barrier.  A simple, weekly phone call demonstrates that there is still someone there to talk to and who cares.

Telephone Befriending is provided by a team of volunteers as an altruistic, social arrangement in order to make a real difference to one person’s life.  The emphasis for befriending is more about having positive social experiences than providing practical support.  Befrienders are there to help take scheme members’ mind off their everyday problems by providing opportunities to have a chat with someone outside of their immediate family or social care professionals and to put a smile back on their face.

If you are interested in volunteering please contact ben@sussexinterpreting.org.uk

The scheme members typically have some difficult issues in their lives that SIS Bilingual Community Navigators or Bilingual Advocates have been or are currently helping with; issues covering housing, benefits, health, education or immigration issues.   Befrienders aren’t responsible for resolving these complex problems but, instead, play an important role in helping the scheme member to regain a sense of purpose and direction, boosting their confidence by connecting them with the community.  They can act as an encouraging facilitator to help the scheme member to cope. Talking about interests and activities can be a great distraction from any problems or difficulties they are facing.

In the two weeks since the launch of the service we have recruited 11 new volunteers and are busy matching them with scheme members who need are help.  We are also partnering with American Express which is contacting its network of employees to advertise this volunteering opportunity.