COULD you give up a couple of hours a week to befriend a child, adult or family affected by autism?
Volunteers are being sought by the The National Autistic Society (NAS) in Birmingham who will be offering NAS Volunteer befriending training on Thursday and Thursday week at Solihull Methodist Church.
People from all walks of life are needed to share their interests with those affected by autism and training is provided over four sessions.
Children and adults with autism often have problems making sense of and coping with the world around them. They have difficulty developing friendships or understanding other people’s feelings. Many lead lonely lives.
Jennifer Williams lives in Halesowen and has been befriending for a few months. She said: I started befriending as I am a third year Learning Disability student and I have always been very interested in autism. Being a befriender is better than I ever imagined. I befriend Ellie who is 11. I usually see her for a couple of hours a week. We go bowling and on trips. We sometimes go out for some food or to the park. I have made a real friend in her and I feel one of the family.”
Nicola, from Northfield, is Ellie’s mum. She said: “I do not have any family nearby so was struggling to get any support. Luckily Ellie and Jen bonded almost instantly. It has been great. It gives me the opportunity to spend time with my son and to have a bit of a breathing space once a week.”
To find out more about volunteering as a befriender, please contact Sharlene Davis on 079175 17375 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.