The Buddy Project is delivered by Tameside Oldham & Glossop Mind in partnership with the LEaP Centre and Diversity Matters North West, and funded through the Community Wellbeing Programme. Its aim is to provide help and support to individuals by matching them with a Buddy, who will offer to accompany their client to events and activities in the local area.
There are many reasons a person might look to the Buddy Project for support. They might be suffering from a long term condition. They may be isolated, perhaps from recently moving into the area, or from experiencing a recent bereavement. They may feel too anxious to engage in the numerous activities that local organisations such as TOGMind offer in the area. Often times it is a mixture of these reasons and this can mean a person is actually unaware of these activities.
The Buddy Project intends to be a presence that helps to open the door to these events, as well as the amazing benefits and experiences that they can offer. Our Buddies discuss their client’s hobbies and interests with the client, and we work to find opportunities that will appeal to them. After this, the pair will arrange to meet once a week for up to three months.
For an isolated or anxious person, it can feel like the rest of the world is a long way away – it may not feel like too realistic a possibility to get up and out there. Going it alone is tough, it’s challenging and it can be overwhelming. Our Buddies act as a guide in the right direction, raising awareness of the activities on offer in the local area and accompanying their clients to these activities.
Buddies do not act as a crutch for their clients. The aim of the project is to increase people’s awareness of community events, their independence in seeking them out and their confidence in attending them. In keeping with the earlier analogy, our Buddies open the door, but it is the client who walks through.
In addition to taking clients to these activities, Tameside Oldham and Glossop Mind also hosts an array of our own events which Buddy clients are invited to. These are always completely optional, but they provide a fun and safe atmosphere, encourage mindfulness and are quite frequently an enriching experience where people can build upon their interests or perhaps pick up a new talent if they’re feeling adventurous!
It’s not just the clients who benefit from this though – our volunteer Buddies who accompany the clients may also enjoy the opportunities on offer, and their own awareness of community events will be broadened, which is always useful! Not to mention, learning more about a person and helping them to grow and strengthen is a very rewarding experience that makes this kind of volunteer work so enjoyable.
If you’d be interest in volunteering with us, or feel you would benefit from having a Buddy, we can be contacted on 0161 330 9223, or via email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find out more about Community Wellbeing grants here