In this latest blog post Leyla Fellows, our new CAP (Christians Against Poverty) Manager shares her experience as a befriender and the joy and flexibilty of serving in this way.
Before taking on the role of Debt Centre Manager, I worked with Jane White for over a year as a befriender. A befriender is someone who goes along with the Centre Manager to visit clients in their homes and is there to provide moral support to clients as they work towards their goal of becoming debt free.
You may not realise it, but you probably live only a few minutes away from families living in extreme poverty. Just up the road in Staple Hill, 1 in 4 children struggle to have 3 full meals a day. Our clients often live incredibly isolated lives. They may rarely leave their home, have no money to go out and enjoy themselves and their journey out of debt can often be a very, very lonely experience.
This is why the support of a befriender is absolutely invaluable to our clients. It’s someone who helps them feel that they’re not alone in the world and that their life matters to us and to God.
I saw a client recently who’s a single Mum with a range of health issues. She really wants to improve life for herself and her daughter but is so anxious about her ability to live within a budget. But when I mentioned the possibility of being supported by a befriender, her face just lit up. And in that moment, it became so clear to me just what a huge difference a befriender can make to a client.
As our client base continues to grow, it’s vital that we now expand our befriender team. You might have a heart to serve but feel that with a couple of kids and a job that you’re already maxed out. That’s how I felt until I discovered the befriender position. The joy of the befriender role is that it’s completely flexible and allows you to commit as little or as much time as you’d like.
Even if you’re not available to come on visits during the week, but feel you could text a client once every couple of weeks and offer to take them out for a coffee once a month then we’d love to hear from you. Whether you’re male, female, working or retired it doesn’t matter. All you need is a heart for serving the poor.
We’ll be hosting a “Meet & Greet” session for existing and new befrienders on Saturday 16th June at 10am in the Youth Hub. We’ll be putting on coffee and pastries and would love to invite you to join us.
In my journey with CAP over the past year, I’ve developed a compassion that stands in awe of what the poor have to carry. I have also realised that compassion isn’t based on a relationship between the healer and the wounded but on a partnership between equals.
So if you feel that your heart has responded to what I’ve shared, then please come to our “Meet & Greet” session so you can find out more about the valuable contribution you could make to the work of CAP.
Leyla Fellows, CAP Centre Manager
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org If you would like to know more about becoming a befriender and are unable to make the event on Saturday 16th June.