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Book of quotes brings smiles to ‘befriending’ users

A LITTLE book, filled with thankfulness, appreciation and inspirational quotes, will help to bring smiles to every person who uses a telephone befriending service in Strabane.

Beautifully designed by the Omagh Volunteer Centre (OVC) to mark Befriending Week, the book of quotes captures the poignant impacts that the centre’s befriending service, ‘B-Friend Hub’ has for the older people who currently live across Omagh, Fermanagh and Strabane – many of whom are isolated and are struggling with loneliness.

Titled ‘The Little Book of Befriending Quotes, Thankfulness, Appreciation and Inspiration’, the powerful book has been dedicated to the clients, volunteers and friends of the B-Friend Hub project, with a copy being delivered to every client and volunteer during befriending week as a gesture of appreciation and togetherness.

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Daily phone calls are made to over 300 older people by a team of dedicated OVC volunteers, who receive training and support to enable them to fulfill their role in supporting older people in their own homes to help them stay connected within their communities.

Michelle McRory, manager at OVC said that this year’s befriending week has significance, as 100 per-cent of local clients and volunteers say they would recommend the service to a friend. “It gives us the perfect opportunity to highlight the volunteers and reflect on what they do,” she said.

“Their dedication, and the way they have all set themselves up in their own homes to continue their volunteering is amazing.”

Befriending service

Due to the pandemic, OVC’s home visit and face-to-face befriending was paused back in March to comply with safety concerns and to ensure the safety of the clients and volunteers.

However, telephone befriending has continued for all the clients, with the project experiencing a huge increase in referrals during the past six month period.

Geraldine Keys, also a manager at OVC, has expressed her sincerest thanks to everyone engaged with the project this befriending week.

“The feedback from the clients is a testament to the wonderful volunteers,” she said. “The volunteers are core to the success of the service and vital in the weeks and months ahead. We are so grateful to have them.”

‘B-Friend Hub’ is funded by the ‘National Lottery Community Fund’, and is delivered in partnership with ‘Strabane Community Project’.

• For further information on the B-Friend Hub project, or to find out about getting involved as a volunteer, email manager@omaghvolunteercentre.org or call 028 8224 0772.

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The Strabane Chronicle is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 4 Castle Street, Strabane, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, BT82 8AB