Befriender Scheme

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Tabitha’s Trust have been working hard to create and launch our new Befriender Scheme

We truly believe, through our own experiences and through talking to other families, that after losing a child, you really need to be able to connect to another person with a similar experience.  Befrienders are there to offer a listening ear, reassurance and to help guide you through the most tragic loss of all; the loss of a child. Befrienders are not counsellors, but offer a different relationship which is built on a mutual experience.

The Befriender Scheme is delighted to welcome the guidence and support of Lynne Foster. Lynne sadly lost her little boy Jordan to cot death 23 years ago. Lynne decided to befriend other bereaved mum’s on the Island, after Jordan’s tragic death. She did this voluntarily with two other ladies, for almost 10 years. She brings with her a wealth of both personal and professional experience, knowledge and a very kind heart. We are honoured to have her join the Scheme, and for her to be a part creating a new support system for locally bereaved families.

Supporting Community Participation

Six ways were found in which befriending services aim to help people participate in their community. These are:

  • using local services and facilities
  • creating a new social link
  • developing wider social networks
  • meeting like-minded people through clubs and groups
  • meeting people with similar needs and supporting each other
  • changing social attitudes so that users become accepted and valued as full members of the community in their own right

Interested in Becoming a Volunteer Befriender?Download YELLOW


Who can be a Befriender?

  • Anyone who has experienced the loss of a child
  • Men and women
  • Their own loss had to have occurred a minimum of two years ago
  • Aged 21 years or over
  • Parents, siblings or Grandparents are welcome
  • Someone who is reliable, a good listener, dependable and has good communication skills
  • Willing to give a few hours a month to support another person through child bereavement

What is Befriending?

Befriending is a voluntary, mutually beneficial and purposeful relationship in which an individual gives time to support another to enable them to make changes in their life. In our case, one bereaved person supporting another.

Befriending makes a real difference to people who find themselves struggling, often at a time of change, including when they’ve been bereaved. They find that they need the dedicated support of another person to help them navigate their way through. It covers a range of supportive and purposeful activity involving the development of a relationship in which one person, who is not family or a close friend, gives time to support and encourage another. And building a relationship of trust.

If you are interested in becoming a Volunteer Befriender, please get in touch or give Victoria a call on 451835 / 829105 for more information

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Befriending support & information 

1. Who can use the befriending schemes?

Tabitha’s Trust are currently working towards offering a befriender service to just one group – bereaved parents. In time we hope to expand upon this.

2. What do you mean by befriending?

Befriending involves one person listening to and supporting another person who is going through a difficult experience. Our befriender is another person whose own experience is similar to yours. They are there to hear your story, and support and encourage you on your journey. Contact is usually in person but can also be offered over the phone, and will continue for as long as you are finding it helpful.

3. Is befriending the same as counselling?

No, counselling is a very specific form of therapy undertaken by trained professionals. Our befrienders are trained, but they are not counselors; they are people who have traveled a journey similar to yours, and who really do understand some of what it feels like to be in your situation, and so can offer genuine understanding, empathy and emotional support.

4. What happens when I ask to be befriended?

Your enquiry will be received at Tabitha’s Trust from a referral agent (your doctor, health visitor etc) The Project Management will call you to talk with you and gain an understanding of your circumstances. They will then decide which of their team of befrienders is best matched to your particular situation, check their availability, and then pass on your contact details to the befriender. The befriender will then contact you to start the befriending relationship. The Scheme Management will be at your first meeting, to do introductions, give you your Support Pack and to ensure you understand the expectations of what a befriender can and cannot do. The Charity will try to contact you within 2/3 working days of receiving your request, and we will endeavor to ensure that the befriender contacts you within a week of your initial request, but this may not always be possible.

5. Is my conversation confidential?

We are able to offer privacy, but not confidentiality. If the befriender hears something that leads them to believe that you, or someone in your family, may be in danger, then they are legally obliged to pass on that information. We also offer supervision to our befrienders during which they may share about a conversation they have had. Although they are not able to share anything you have said outside of the Scheme.

6. How long does the befriending last?

There is no limit to how long a befriending relationship can continue, and we would expect it to continue for as long as it is proving helpful to you. For some people, one or two phone calls are all they need to help them through a particular situation; for others befriending may continue for several months. It is your decision if you want to continue to be befriended, although the befriender will want to review progress with you periodically to ensure that they are still being of help and providing the level of support you need.

7. How often will I speak with my befriender?

The Scheme recommends once a week, for a minimum of one hour. This meeting is held at a prearranged time, date and place. Your befriender will arrange your next meeting at the end of each meeting with you.  Meetings will probably reduce after a while, depending on how you are feeling.

8. What happens after the befriending has finished?

There will come a time when you and your befriender agree that you no longer wish to continue with the befriending. However, we recognise that your circumstances can change, and that you may wish to re-establish contact with your befriender. This is fine, all you need to do is to contact Tabitha’s Trust and and we will arrange for your befriender to contact you.

We are constantly seeking to ensure that we are meeting your needs, and improving the service we offer. We may contact you after you have completed your befriending to check that you were happy with the service, and to see if there are ways that it can be improved.

9. Can I ask for a different befriender?

This will not normally be possible because we have a limited number of befrienders. But if there are issues that cannot be resolved in order for the relationship to continue, then we will do whatever we can to help. Sometimes people need more than what a befriender relationship can offer, if this turns out to be the case, we will endeavor to direct you to another agency that may be better able to help you.

10. Supposing I have a complaint?

Tabitha’s Trust takes its responsibilities to you very seriously, and makes every effort to ensure that we have correctly understood your needs and responded appropriately. If for any reason you feel dissatisfied, please contact Tabitha’s Trust and we will make sure that your concerns are addressed.

11. What does it cost?

The befriending services are provided free of charge. Telephone contact will be initiated by the befriender, so the cost of any telephone calls will be borne by the befriender.

Tabitha’s Trust is a charity, and we are grateful to the many kind and generous individuals who donate to Tabitha’s Trust so that we are able to continue offering this service


Artwork kindly donated by Janice Farnan Photography

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Isle of Man Registered Charity No.1134.