Susan Shingler works as a Service Development Manager for Scope. Part of her work has included opening two new Face 2 Face befriending services in Wales. Today she writes about these two new services and what they hope to offer.
Over the last week, I have helped launch two new Face 2 Face services in Conwy & Denbighshire and Anglesey, Wales.
I would say the launches were incredibly successful. Loads of local organisations and service providers came along. I’ve heard from many organisations that these new Face 2 Face services in North Wales will really benefit them.
At the launches, we got the chance to present the new befrienders/parents their training certificates. They also received their new official befriender name badges. They were all really happy to complete their training and were looking forward to helping out other parents.
Here’s some of the great feedback from parents and befrienders alike:
Beckie Mann: “After diagnosis, you try to find out what ‘help’ is available. No one really helps you, but we want to help support [parents] as much as we can.”
Lucy Williams: “I wanted somebody like a befriender after my son was born. Since he was a few months old, I’ve wanted to help other parents so I jumped at the chance to be part of Face2Face.”
Goretti Chilton: “I felt bombarded with all of it at once and I didn’t remember any information given afterwards. I could have really done with a befriender then.”
Gina Stevenson: “What we want to do is make a difference to parents who are going through what we’ve been through. It’s a lonely and emotional period in your life that we can relate to and empathise with.”
Kathryn Elsmore: “Sometimes you feel that no one could possibly understand but there are some of us, with all different experiences, who do understand.”
Now that they’ve opened, let’s hope they keep growing!
As for myself, I’ve been overwhelmed by the response over the past few days and I couldn’t have done with without Sharon Bateman and the Createasmile charity for seeing the potential of Face 2 Face and working with us to make it happen.
And of course, we’re eternally grateful to our parent befrienders, who make the service what it is.
Now that befrienders have given their valuable time to help someone who’s been in the same shoes, our aim is to grow the service in North Wales.
We’ve already received four referrals! So hopefully we will continue to grow.
We’re always looking for befrienders across England and Wales to meet with other parents of children with disabilities for emotional and practical support. Become a befriender today.