Finding friendly faces in new places
Friends are there at the best and worst of times - 'when it hasn't been your day, your week, your month or even your year' as goes everyone's favourite sitcom. Friends shape our identity growing up, cheer us up when our love life takes a turn, stand by us on our wedding day. Here's a look at how important friendships are in helping young people rediscover hope.
Our youth groups offer a chance for young people to get together, share what's on their mind and make friends. We have support groups for children whose parents battle alcohol addiction, refugee groups to combat feelings of isolation in a new country, and women-only groups for different nationalities to come together and share their stories.
One of our youth groups was so popular, young people kept it going just to keep the friends they had made through one of our refugee and migrant services.
I made some English friends. It enables me to integrate when I can’t find people from my country.
Our weekly women's group in Newcastle recently worked on a project with the British Library around women's rights. Through the group, they are empowered to share their experiences, build confidence and challenge cultural barriers to them expressing their voices.
All these groups, whether for young people struggling with mental health or those new to a community, are so important in making friends and feeling less alone.
A friend in need
Many young people see our practitioners as much more than just a service. 'It wasn't just someone who would write down everything on a notepad'...'I can have a good laugh with her. Even though she's here for a serious situation. It's like having a best friend, someone you can trust'.
They feel welcome when times are tough. They don’t just talk about their problems. They talk about their passions and aspirations. ‘We had that kind of relationship. I could say whatever to her. It made me feel really good. I know it’s professional, but it didn’t feel it.’
We also couldn't be there for as many young people without our volunteers. Befrienders are so important in being there for young people, sharing experiences together, being that stable and positive presence in their life.
It's a space to have someone interested in their life - recognising they can build friendships with different kinds of people
Our practitioners and volunteers provide more than just a service. They develop relationships, share interests and fight for hope in the young people they see. Sometimes all they need is a friend. Someone they can depend on while they go through their most difficult life challenges.
‘Whilst it was really sad, because she had become a really good friend that I could just completely trust, at the same time I was looking forward to her going on and using my space to help someone else who really needed her.’
I know how much she changed my life I know how much she changed my life
Become a befriender
Our volunteer befrienders help us support young people who need hope most.
Whether it's organising activities for them in the community, helping them with an application or simply going for a walk, the time you can give is hugely valuable.
Check out our volunteering roles to see if there's an opportunity for you.