Celebrating the befrienders

Tony Audenshaw at the launch, pictured with befriending co-ordinator Adele Gould, volunteers and service users.
Tony Audenshaw at the launch, pictured with befriending co-ordinator Adele Gould, volunteers and service users.

Emmerdale star Tony Audenshaw was among the guests at a special event in New Mills to celebrate Befriending Week.

New Mills and District Volunteer Centre held an afternoon tea event last Wednesday to bring together befriending volunteers and clients.

Tony, who is from New Mills, presented volunteers with special thank you cards designed by the winners of an art competition run by Derbyshire Trusted Befriending Network.

Adele Gould, the volunteer centre’s Befriending Co-ordinator, said: “In the last year 87 people have received home and telephone befriending from us, which has been provided by 61 volunteers.

“I think these are amazing figures for 12 months and highlight the demand for the befriending service. People are now living longer and social isolation has become a huge issue all over the country, so the demand for the service is only going to grow as more people hear about us.

“All of our clients have said they have made new friends.

“They have also stated that they have increased their social support networks and feel less socially isolated due to the service.”

The afternoon tea event also marked the launch of a new website, www.derbyshirebefriending.org.uk, which is packed with information about befriending.

The volunteer centre is looking for new home befriending volunteers, particularly in Whaley Bridge and Chapel-en-le-Frith. Anyone who is interested should contact Adele on 01663 744196 or visit the new website.