UMi Supports Befriend a Child's ‘Befriending Programme’ to Boost Confidence and Well-Being

Befriend a Child, a charity based in Aberdeen, received a £1,000 grant from UMi to help fund their Befriending Programme. This grant has been crucial in supporting a Befriending Coordinator post, allowing the project to assist 51 disadvantaged children and young people. 

The project matches each child with a trained and PVG-checked volunteer befriender. These volunteers meet with the children twice a month for activities like horse riding, ice skating, visiting Aberdeen Science Centre, and enjoying picnics. The goal is to introduce children to new activities and skills, boosting their confidence and self-esteem. 

The Befriending Coordinator provides ongoing support and training to 24 existing volunteers as well as having recruited, trained, and supported 30 new roles. In total, 54 volunteers have made a meaningful difference in the lives of 51 children over the past year. 

One volunteer said: “The difference from when I first met ‘A’ to now with regards to his confidence and self-esteem is amazing. He’s a lot chattier and can easily start conversations. He is a lot better with his peers too and can now easily go up to other children at the parks or beach if he wants to play with them.” 

Despite challenges posed by COVID-19, volunteers showed incredible commitment and creativity in engaging with the children. The Befriending Coordinator kept volunteers updated with restrictions and provided support through fortnightly newsletters. 

Maggie, an 11-year-old girl, was placed on the Child Protection Register due to neglect. She was matched with volunteer befriender Bea, and despite lockdown restrictions, they built trust and confidence through local outings. Maggie's mum shared: “Maggie enjoys having time away from the family home and doing things just her and Bea. Maggie and Bea have a lot in common and both like active activities and being outdoors. She is always asking when she is seeing her next.” 

The £1,000 grant from UMi, and the role it created, has had a significant impact on Befriend a Child’s programme, increasing confidence, reducing social isolation, and enhancing well-being for disadvantaged children and young people in Aberdeen. 

For more information about Befriend a Child, click here.