Voluntary Norfolk open day - find out how you can help

Will Mills taking the befriending training at Voluntary Norfolk.  Photo: Bill Smith

Will Mills taking the befriending training at Voluntary Norfolk. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2012

An open day next week will explain how to get involved in volunteering opportunities ranging from emergency response work to painting and decorating.

A Friend in Need

A Friend in Need is an Evening News campaign seeking to increase the number of Voluntary Norfolk community befrienders in Norwich.

With people living longer, communities becoming more disparate, and support services constantly over-subscribed, the risk of isolated and vulnerable people slipping away from everyday life becomes greater.

But community befrienders can make the difference.

Spending two hours with a person who may have no other visitors that week is a small commitment, but it can bring huge benefits.

Since it was launched last month, A Friend in Need has boosted Voluntary Norfolk’s pool of befrienders by 20 per cent – but many more are needed.

We will be featuring the best stories from volunteers and clients over the coming months. As Voluntary Norfolk’s team sees time and again, when someone knows they are being cared for, it breathes confidence into other areas of their life, leads to genuine friendships and – most importantly – can be a whole lot of fun.

No experience is necessary to volunteer, though candidates are CRB checked and must provide references.

Volunteers are trained and then matched with an appropriate client, with regular reviews during the match, which can last for up to 18 months.

To find out more, contact Voluntary Norfolk on 01603 614474, email or visit

Voluntary Norfolk is throwing open its doors on Monday, July 16, to offer people the chance to find out about how they can contribute across the city.

The day includes a drop-in service for visitors to discuss their needs with Voluntary Norfolk advisors one-on-one, while other organisations will also be on hand to explain the variety of roles available.

As well as the opportunity to find out about the befriending scheme which the Evening News has been promoting through the Friend in Need campaign, voluntary bodies including the British Red Cross, CSV, Norwich LEAP Project, Shelter, and Community Action Norwich will be represented.

Volunteering manager Andrew Morter said that there would be a volunteering opening to suit every taste.

“The Evening News’s A Friend in Need campaign has made a tremendous difference to the number of people coming forward to volunteer with our befriending service and of course we welcome more, but befriending is just one of dozens of ways that people can help in the community,” he said.

“We have hundreds of opportunities with dozens of different voluntary organisations and people can try a huge variety of activities, from conservation to helping in hospitals, working with animals, befriending and painting and decorating.”

A Friend in Need has already generated more than 30 new volunteers for Voluntary Norfolk, but there are many other ways to contribute your time and energy befriending is not right for you.

Mr Morter added: “Volunteering makes a huge difference to the lives of people in Norwich and there are many different ways to get involved, but it can sometimes be difficult to discover exactly what’s on offer.

“The open day puts lots of organisations in one easily accessible place and lets people browse.

“So come along – you might be surprised at what you can do.”

The open day runs from 10am to 3pm on Monday, July 16 at the Voluntary Norfolk offices at 83-87 Pottergate, Norwich. To find out more, call Voluntary Norfolk on 01603 614474.

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