Case Studies

Partnership working in action: learning from Aberdeen City Befriending Partnership for older people

Type: Case Study

Aberdeen City Befriending Partnership is an innovative partnership responsible for delivering a city wide befriending service for people aged 55+ to help them achieve a good quality of life and the added confidence they need to remain independent.

Aberdeen City Befriending Partnership is an innovative partnership of 5 well-established third sector organisations of varying sizes:

  • British Red Cross
  • Sue Ryder
  • Bethany Christian Trust
  • The Living Well Project
  • Parish Nursing

The Befriending Partnership is responsible for delivering a city wide befriending service for people aged 55+ to help them achieve a good quality of life and give them the added confidence they need to remain independent and in their own home.  The partnership demonstrates what can be acheived when people come together with a shared vision of reducing social isolation and delivering a service that is person-centred.  

In the first year, strong progress has been made in creating the foundations of the Befriending Partnership and it had already received 118 referrals for people aged 55 and over at June 2013.  An important element of the service is to work with older people who are isolated to reconnect with local support and activities within their community.   Volunteers will be carefully matched with older people, taking into account their interests and personalities.  Once matched, the befriending activity will be shaped by the older person and volunteer together building a meaningful relationship and drawing upon the skills and experience of both.

There is strong agreement among the partners that the success of the partnership has been because the right people and organisations are involved.   The partners work collectively to deliver their shared goal of improving the quality of life of older people across Aberdeen City.  The Befriending Partnership has adopted the following working values:

  • A shared commitment to reducing social isolation
  • Equality
  • Mutual respect
  • Open communication
  • Willingness to work with and learn from others
  • Desire to share and make the best use of resources

There is a strong belief that the partnership model is having a positive impact on the quality of the service.  In particular, partners cited the range of experience which each partner brings to the table as well as the personal commitment to the shared vision that every individual demonstrates.  The partners support each other and collectively find solutions to the common challenges which they face. 

I think this is a clear example of what can be achieved when you have people coming together with a shared vision who are committed to providing good and competent service for older peoples, who can discern between times of taking the lead and when to support others to do it, generous with their resources and ideas, and prepared to overcome obstacles by being solution focused.

 

Partners spoke about the strength of the relationships that have been built over the past 9 months; that they have established friendships and are motivated by a willingness to share resources and experiences to meet their common vision.  Each partner said they can see a future for the Befriending Partnership and there was a strong desire to see the partnership sustained.  Whilst there have been some challenges along the way, partners felt that the experience had been positive for service users and the organisations.

For more information about the Aberdeen City Befriending Partnership for older people:

Call: 01224 896 339

Visit: http://acvo.org.uk/working-with/befriending-partnership/

 

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