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Catherine calls out for Caithness befrienders

By David G Scott

A HIGHLAND charity is putting a call out for volunteers in Caithness to get involved with "supported friendships" in the community.

The charity, called Befrienders Highland, is especially seeking "face-to-face friends" along with "distance befriending" where a friendship can be conducted through emails, letters and telephone.

Catherine Patterson is putting a call-out for befrienders in Caithness. Picture: DGS
Catherine Patterson is putting a call-out for befrienders in Caithness. Picture: DGS

Catherine Patterson is the Caithness co-ordinator for the organisation and said: "Befriending is a supported friendship between two people – a volunteer and someone who wishes to be a befriender."

Based at Telford House in Wick, Catherine has been in the post for over 18 months and was employed due to "increased demand for the service in Caithness".

She said: "This is a secure supported friendship for both parties. People requiring the service are called ‘friends’. They could be isolated, depressed, anxious, and should be seeking professional help for their condition."

If a person chooses to be a "distant volunteer" the requirements are flexible and can fit into their workload or family commitments, Catherine added.

"We are especially looking for face-to-face volunteers at the moment and hoping that more people will come and get involved. Befriending benefits both parties and can involve sharing activities and hobbies both people like or just meeting up in a café for a chat and cup of tea."

Volunteer training includes six workbooks to be completed before a stringent match can implemented. Training can be done at home followed by a telephone or face-to-face tutorial with a co-ordinator.

"Our befriending service focuses on the recovery model and supports people to move on and enjoy life again," Catherine said.

"Agencies can make a referral or individuals can self-refer to our organisation. We then gather more information to help us make a successful befriending match."

Befriending Highland was established in 1993 and has its head office in Inverness, with additional offices in Nairn and Caithness.

On Friday, April 19, the organisation is holding a Befrienders Highland quiz night at the Seaforth Highlanders' Club, Dempster Street, Wick, starting at 7.30pm, with teams of four costing £2 per person. There will be a raffle and snacks available with all proceeds going to support people with mental ill health in Caithness.

Raffle prizes can be donated to Catherine at Telford House, Williamson Street, Wick.

If you are interested in getting involved as a befriender or wish to know more about the service, contact Catherine Patterson at catherinepatterson@befriendershighland.org.uk or phone 07738274437.

Additionally, you can contact: info@befriendinghighland.org.uk or call 0146 3712791 for assistance.

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