ALONE hosts Befriending Network Ireland National Seminar
ALONE hosted the Befriending Network Ireland’s National Seminar on Thursday 26th May, in the Aisling Hotel, Dublin 8. The seminar was attended by Befriending Network Ireland (BNI) members from around the country. The seminar discussed the importance of highlighting loneliness as a health issue and addressed the importance of quality standards in befriending.
Befriending Network Ireland is a national network of befriending services for vulnerable and older people. It is led/hosted by ALONE and it’s aims are to provide training, quality, transparency as well as a national voice for befriending. ALONE are the only Befriending service in the country to have a quality award and are passionate about/in ensuring quality across befriending services.
Professor Sabina Brennan led a discussion on ‘Loneliness as a Health Issue’ and explained how befriending can play a crucial role in addressing loneliness and isolation. Sabina’s research work, as a psychologist in the Institute of Neuroscience in Trinity College Dublin, focuses on understanding risk and protective factors to establish how we might prevent dementia or change the trajectory of the disease. Liz Watson, the Chief Executive of Befriending Networks, then spoke on the ‘Importance of Quality Standards in Befriending’. As part of the seminar, a member of Wicklow Dementia Support also gave a brief talk about their experience of befriending.
Speaking at the event, CEO of ALONE Sean Moynihan said, “We are delighted that so many staff and volunteers from around the county attended today’s Befriending Network Ireland Seminar. This conference is an opportunity to learn more about befriending and to network with representatives from befriending services across Ireland. ”
He continued, “ALONE’s Befriending Services provides companionship to older people who are socially isolated through a weekly volunteer visit as well as a range of social events. We are continually developing the service to ensure that all older people who require it will have access to a quality assured befriending service.”
For those who have concerns about their own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of a vulnerable older person in the community, ALONE can be contacted on (01) 679 1032. To make a donation and help aid ALONE’s work visit www.alone.ie. Befriending organisations can also get in touch for advice on how to join the network.