Tandem offers one-to-one support and friendship to people with mental health problems living in the community in Oxford.
We do this through the ‘befriending partnership’; two people: a volunteer, who is a befriender, and a befriendee who is an individual using the service.
Tandem volunteer befrienders gently support their befriendees in building self-confidence and independence through shared activities in the community.
Meeting once a week, both people choose social and leisure activities they would like to do together. Examples of activities include going for a coffee, visiting a galleries and museums, going cycles and walks, going to a gig or a concert.
Here are some of the things that people who have used Tandem’s befriending service have said:
- “I value my befriender because it is different from committing to a friendship. I cannot keep friendships but I can commit to a befriending partnership because there are boundaries. I want to continue to see my befriender.”
- “I have really enjoyed my time with my befriender and she has helped me out lots, just by talking and going out for a walk or a coffee.”
- “[My befriender] continues to be a source of support-showing genuine interest in my life and well-being. We continue to share common interests and visit places of mutual interest. My befriender is very responsive when I simply need to talk through my feelings and does her best to offer positive and constructive advice and reassurance. Thank you Tandem for bringing us together.”
- “Tandem provides consistent help that is about my needs; not those of an organisation. To be supported in a way that puts me first is so very different that it could be termed revolutionary. Every other organisation I have ever had any contact with has wanted me to change in order that I will fit in with them. Tandem treats me as a person who is as she is and worthy of their help – that is a wonderful thing to do.”
- “Coming to Tandem has had a massive impact on my well-being for the better. My befriender is great and we get on very well. My life has got a lot better and I am very pleased with the service.”
- “I think it has generally contributed to my mental health and well-being to have a constant weekly meeting with my patient and thoughtful ‘befriend’. Having very few friends generally has made me lonely and reclusive, and vice versa. I am very grateful that Tandem do all they do for people like me.”