Southern Befrienders is a charity that supports elderly, socially isolated people living in the south of the Isle of Man with volunteer befrienders, social events and outings. The overall aim of Southern Befrienders is to reduce feelings of loneliness and social isolation by providing reliable, regular companionship – whether by one-to-one befriending or in social groups.
Social isolation and loneliness can adversely affect people of any age but can be more prevalent in later years. The impact is complex and crippling. Research into the physical and mental effects of loneliness is well documented. For example, loneliness to someone in their 80s can be as detrimental as excessive smoking or alcohol. Loneliness can impact on mental health, leading to a lack of confidence or even depression. Loneliness may be compounded by bereavement, mobility issues, moving into residential care in an area away from friends and family, or having to care for a spouse with a long term medical condition.
Try to imagine what you would feel like if you were unable to leave the house; no-one came to visit you, no-one rang you and you had no-one to call. Imagine if you had no computer or tablet, no smart phone – no social media, no opportunity to chat on-line. What if your only companionship was the TV – with limited channels because the area where you live gets poor reception? How long could you last? Half an hour? Half a day? A full day? The reality for many of our members is that they can go as long as 10 days or longer without any type of interaction with another person. How would that make you feel?
Southern Befrienders offers a vital service to our local community. We provide empathetic and caring support with on-going, regular companionship. Participation in our social events promotes independence, boosts confidence and a feeling of well-being. We liaise with and if needed, support our members’ families.
A Vital Service
It costs nearly £300 per annum to support each member. We have to raise £40k each year to maintain this vital service – a service that is expanding as local need increases. We are a Manx-registered charity (no. 939) and every penny raised stays on the Island to support our local community. If you can support us with fundraising, please take a look at our fundraising-role-profile, click on the PayPal Donate button above or become a Community Business Partner.