Staying Well Team Inspires Hope with Befriending Service
- Service Area: Community & Wellbeing
- Program: Staying Well – Befriending
- Values: We Care & We are Committed
In the COVID pandemic the Staying Well team became a community anchor through Halifax Opportunities Trust, to support those who were not able to connect with others due to strict lockdown rules and self-isolation guidelines. Loneliness was a growing concern for the team; one of the reasons why Parveen* was connected with the program.
Self-isolating and socially isolated
Parveen lives on her own and, due to her health, was self-isolating inline with the recommendations from medical experts at the time. Due to this and the lockdown at the beginning of 2021, Parveen became increasingly isolated and started to feel lonely. Over a short time, this was negatively affecting Parveen’s mood.
Seeking support and guidance, Parveen contacted the Staying Well team in January 2021. The team worked with Parveen to help her feel more socially connected, through fortnightly befriending calls.
An open dialogue
These calls were an opportunity for Parveen to talk about her worries openly, with someone who she had built her trust with. Through regular chats, Parveen revealed that her financial situation wasn’t great and she was struggling to buy essential food and household supplies.
Because of the Trust’s established reputation and local connections in the Park Ward area, a food parcel delivery service was also available throughout the Pandemic for those like Parveen, who were struggling financially. As part of the Staying Well Team’s commitment to the community and duty of care for the people who they work with, Parveen was added to the distribution list for daily food parcels.
A community built through COVID
As with many throughout the Pandemic, Parveen had many highs and lows during her Staying Well befriending calls. With nowhere to go and nobody to talk to at a very worrying time, Parveen was struggling to cope which was particularly difficult approaching her birthday.
Parveen was emotional about having to spend her birthday alone. Her befriender called her to wish her a ‘Happy Birthday’; this meant the world to her. It helped her to become a little more positive and optimistic about things and she was starting to gain more confidence after spending so much time alone.
Optimism for the future
With more optimism the calls became opportunities to talk about future plans. Parveen mentioned she had experience of working in a school, which would be something she would like to pursue further.
As schools and businesses started to re-open, job opportunities were also opening up. In May, after four months of regular calls, Parveen had built up her confidence so much she felt comfortable in applying for an Early Years Practitioner vacancy.
A fresh start
Parveen was invited for an interview within a week of applying for the vacancy. The Staying Well Team offered further support by giving mock interviews in preparation for the day. Despite being very nervous, Parveen built her confidence to answer general interview questions which lead to her being offered the position.
Parveen is still in contact with the Staying Well team, who offered ongoing support up until the early days of her employment with food parcels until her first pay check. She is now independent and confident to continue building her life after COVID.
“Speaking to the Staying Well befriending team regularly made me feel better and gave me a reason to stay positive.”
“I am very grateful for the support I received from Staying Well. It has given me the confidence to believe in myself again.”
Halifax Opportunities Trust works with individuals and groups from the local community with diverse backgrounds and lived experiences. The Staying Well program is part of our Community and Wellbeing Service. It has been set-up to support people in Calderdale who may be experiencing social isolation and aims to provide opportunities for people to meet new others through interactive groups and activities.
Find out more about our Staying Well program, here;
*Names and image changed to protect subject’s identity.