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Rural charity make friends in the local community

Living in beautiful countryside and villages are some peoples idea of dream come true, but the reality can be hard.

In 2010 the charity Together in Mission (TiM) conducted a social audit in West Berkshire/North Hampshire which highlighted a number of problems. One of the bigger issues was the concern that a growing number of older people living in rural areas feel isolated and aren’t easily able to get out of their homes.

TiM with a band of volunteers have stepped into the gap with TiM Friends, a befriending service for the people of Mortimer, Burghfield and surrounding areas.

“Many people find themselves alone for one reason or another,” said Bev French, co-ordinator for TiM Friends. “They may be isolated due to illness or disability. They just don’t get out as much as they would like to and see as many people as before.”

This is where TiM Friends comes in, working in partnership with other organisations (The Link, Age Concern and Churches Together in Burghfield, Sulhamstead and Mortimer), they offer friendship to people who would welcome hearing or seeing a friend on a regular basis. This can be a chat over the phone, a visit at home or a trip out.

TiM Friends relies on volunteers to deliver this service. “You don’t need any special skills to become a friend” said Bev, “You just need a warm and caring personality. We provide training and support during your time with us.

“Even housebound people can volunteer as part of the telephone befriending service.”

If you know of someone who would benefit from having a regular visitor, if you would like a visit yourself or if you would like to volunteer as a TiM Friend please contact friends@togetherinmission.org.uk

Telephone enquiries are 07778 911183 for Burghfield Area and 07778 911184 for Mortimer Area.

You can donate via Vodafone’s JustTextGiving by texting CTIM01 and the amount (eg CTIM01 £10) to 70070

photograph: Members of TiM outside Cafe B, a community cafe in Burghfield, run by local volunteers and managed and organised by TiM.