Befriending service changes its name to Peer Support Service

Service Name Change

The Paul Popham Fund, Renal Support Wales, relaunched its Befriending Service on the 26th June 2016 in conjunction with the Renal Services at Morriston Hospital. Since that day, the service has grown from strength to strength, offering people with kidney disease a support service from people like them – people who have been through a similar journey.

Prior to this, it was facilitated by the Psychology Department, University Hospital Wales Cardiff and supported by the WKPA.

Over the last four years the service has continued to develop, providing much needed support to people with kidney disease. The support services have included: face to face meetings with Befrienders who chat through their concerns; the facilitation of various support groups, named ‘Kidney Café’s’; and the provision of a counselling service for those who require more emotional support due to anxiety or depression.

During the COVID-19 Pandemic the charity has developed to offer the Befriending Service over the phone. The charity’s Befrienders – all people with kidney disease themselves or the carers and family members of people with kidney disease – have been manning the charity’s Careline Monday to Sunday 9am to 6pm, so that patients and their families can call and speak to someone who understands. The charities Kidney Café’s have been managed on-line by holding virtual support meetings, so that the charities are still providing much needed support during this time. This has enabled the service to be offered to all people with kidney disease in Wales, including North Wales, where previously we were unable to spread the service that far.

July 2019

In July 2019 the Charity held a meeting to review the name of the service. The question we asked our current Befriending Team was:

Does the term Befriending accurately describe the service? We provided them with the following descriptions:

 What is Befriending?

Befriending offers supportive, reliable relationships through volunteer Befrienders to people who would otherwise be socially isolated. Around the UK, there are befriending projects which organise effective support for children and young people, families, people with mental ill-health, people with learning disabilities and older people, amongst many others.

The results of befriending can be very significant. Befriending often provides people with a new direction in life, opens up a range of activities and leads to increased self-esteem and self-confidence. Befriending can also reduce the burden on other services which people may use inappropriately as they seek social contact.

Peer-to-Peer Support, which is described as:

Peer support is distinct from other forms of social support in that the source of support is a peer, a person who is similar in fundamental ways to the recipient of the support; their relationship is one of equality. A peer is in a position to offer support by virtue of relevant experience: he or she has “been there, done that” and can relate to others who are now in a similar situation. Trained peer support workers such as peer support specialists and peer counsellors receive special training and are required to obtain continuing education Units, like clinical staff.

From the above definitions, it was clear that the Befriending Service actually provides Peer Support and that Befriending actually means being a friend to someone who needs support not necessarily someone who has been through the same experience as them.

The service has been renamed the Paul Popham Fund Peer Support Services four years after the date it was relaunched on the 26th June 2020 and our Befrienders will be called Peer Mentors, offering the service throughout Wales on a national basis.

For further information please call 0333 2001 285

If you need support, please call: 0800 038 89 89

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