What is your role at MindOut?
I’ve got various roles at MindOut. I manage the Age Matters project which is for LGBTQ 50+ people with an emphasis on engaging with people who are 70+. I refer people to all our services; peer mentoring, peer support groups, workshops, counselling and advocacy. I also manage the support groups and the peer mentoring project, including recruiting and training volunteers, so my job is quite broad!
Can you tell us about the new befriending service?
The befriending service has come out of the success of the peer mentoring project. Peer mentoring is one-to-one support with a focus for the mentee, often a goal they want to achieve, which is worked on for 10 weekly sessions. When I took the idea to residential homes, people didn’t want peer mentoring but they did want to meet with someone from the LGBT community. They felt isolated and lonely and wanted to have a chat or go to an event with a volunteer but not for a limited number of sessions. Befriending is an open ended relationship which builds over time, so it’s quite different to peer mentoring which has a clear ending.
Why else is the befriending service an important addition for MindOut?
In residential homes, sometimes people from the LGBTQ community go back into the closet. It can feel like an institution which can make them nervous about being themselves. The befriending will be a way to help them to connect to our communities and still live their lives authentically.
Is the befriending service only available to people in residential homes?
The befriending will only available to certain residential homes to start with. From May we will be piloting the befriending service with Lindridge Care Home. Blind Veterans UK and the Royal British Legion homes have also shown an interest.
However we respond to the needs of our communities so if there is a demand for the service outside of the residential homes we will definitely look at this. We encourage people to contact us about what they need so we can shape the service to match what people are asking us for.
Are you now recruiting volunteers for befriending?
We hope to recruit volunteers and start our befriending service as soon as possible, please let us know if you would like to be kept informed
We accept applications from people of all ages as intergenerational work is really important.
For more information on volunteering with MindOut please email [email protected]