Volunteer Befrienders recognised for delivering support to local people


​Mind in Harrogate District held an event for our Volunteer Befrienders on Wednesday 8th November to thank them for the time they have put into the service, celebrate the success of the service and to mark the end of National Befriending Week.


Mind in Harrogate District provides a befriending service across the whole Harrogate area (including Ripon, Masham, Boroughbridge and Pateley Bridge) that supports people to improve their mental health, build social relationships and make connections within their local community.

With a team of 23 volunteer befrienders the service has supported 30 people over the last 18 months and there have been 460 individual meetups during this period. Meeting usually once a week for one hour in a public location, the volunteer meets with their assigned individual for a coffee, a walk or other activity.

Supporting people across the district aged from 18 to 80+, the feedback on the service shows that 97% rated it good or very good. Quotes received from the latest feedback are as follows:

“The befriending service has been very beneficial for me!”
“Extremely happy with the service, it’s an important part of my week”
“The scheme helps me reduce my anxiety, a very important part of my week”
“It has given me that gentle nudge forward”
“It has improved my confidence and independence”
“I had no idea how important this service would end up being for me”
“Clone her so she can help others”

Demand for mental health support continues to grow and we are continually recruiting Volunteer Befrienders to meet the demand for the service, which has grown from 2 active volunteers in May 2022 to 20+ volunteers. The number of befriending meet-ups has doubled April – October 2023 from the previous year.

Befriending is not possible without our volunteers! Our volunteers gain a lot from befriending too, here is some of their feedback:

“I look forward to my befriending weekly meet-up.”
“I personally get a lot out of befriending.”
“I feel our relationship is reciprocal.”
“It’s been a privilege to watch her journey through to a better place.”
“Being a volunteer gives you an opportunity to get to know someone, to walk with them on their mental health journey and provide support on their terms. It’s a real privilege!”
“Being a volunteer you see results / rewards however small they are to help someone without judgement.”
“Being a befriender is an opportunity to provide empathy, become a better listener and feel more connected to a person. Helping others can have a positive effect on one’s happiness and confidence.”

If you are interested and can find some available time (typically 2 hours per week) Monday to Friday and you are interested in volunteering as a befriender then please email [email protected] for further information. Volunteers receive mental health awareness training, a full induction and ongoing support including a regular volunteer forum. Our befriending coordinator is happy to discuss further with you and travel to meet you locally if required.