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Charlie was motivated to volunteer with the Bromley Dementia Support Hub due to family experience of dementia some years ago. She has been a volunteer dementia befriender for a year.

Charlie befriends around her flexible working hours and visits Florence, who has memory loss, every week. Florence lives a few streets away from Charlie in Orpington.

A few years ago when Florence was widowed, she moved from the coast to the borough where she had once lived many years ago. This was to be closer to her family.

Florence always makes a cup of tea for her befriender and they have “lovely chats”, about their living in different parts of the country and overseas, amongst other things. Both of their families relocated to Cornwall for a life by the sea, many years ago. Both ventures were unsuccessful and they have discussed this experience at length. Florence always has lots to say and has an excellent memory of her family’s adventures.

Another positive is that Florence is very keen on Charlie’s dog, Betsy, who stays in the garden during visits.

As a befriender, Charlie is giving Florence the confidence to feel more positive about her new home and to get to know her area a bit more. In October, they both attended the ‘Big Birthday Street Party’, a celebration for the Bromley dementia community held at Crofton Halls Orpington. They intend to venture out again together in the Spring.

Florence said,

“Charlie is a very nice lady and I look forward to her little visits. It’s just lovely to see her.”

Charlie said,

“I have absolutely loved volunteering from the second I started. Florence and I spend time together each week talking and laughing. She never lets me leave without telling me how much she looks forward to our meetings each week, which makes me so happy.”

There is a high demand for befriending in the dementia community and the Bromley Dementia Support Hub is always looking for more Volunteer Dementia Befrienders to offer one-to-one companionship for people recently diagnosed with dementia, to support them with activities in the home and local community.

Eleanor Beardsley, Volunteer Befriending Worker with the Bromley Dementia Support Hub, said,

 “We have many success stories like Florence and Charlie’s, real examples of social interaction and friendship, but we need to reach more people with dementia, to ease their social isolation and increase their confidence in order for them to live as well as possible with dementia. Come and join us!”

 With ongoing support and training, find out more about joining our team of Volunteer Dementia Befrienders.

Contact Eleanor Beardsley, Bromley Dementia Support Hub on 020 8315 1871 or eleanor.beardsley@dementiahub.org.uk

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