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Become a pen pal to the lonely, West Kent Befriending Service is looking for volunteers

A charity is considering a new venture to help lonely and isolated people.

West Kent Befriending Service in Maidstone helps dozens of people, most of whom are elderly, by buddying them up with volunteers.

West Kent Befriending Service coffee morning at Harpers Coffee and Gifts, Maidstone. Diane Bromley and Wendy Pfeiffer. Picture: Matthew Walker
West Kent Befriending Service coffee morning at Harpers Coffee and Gifts, Maidstone. Diane Bromley and Wendy Pfeiffer. Picture: Matthew Walker

But pressure is building.

Manager Wendy Pfeiffer said: “Our face to face service is closed to new referrals at the moment, we’re completely at capacity and short of volunteers.

“We’ve started to get a few more so hopefully we can reopen that part after Christmas.”

Now the service, which operates as part of Age UK Maidstone, is looking at a new idea to bring people together as pen pals

Ms Pfeiffer explained: “This is a generation of people who wrote letters for everything, I thought this would be a great idea to help them find someone to speak to.

“To start with I’d just like to get an idea of who would be interested, from there they’ll be able to write me a letter and I can try and find the right person to partner them up with.

“It would only be one letter a month, but it would mean the world to some of our clients, it’s a chance to get to know someone new and gives everyone something to look forward to.

“It doesn’t cost much to send a letter. It doesn’t matter where you live so anyone can help, even if you are less mobile and struggle to get out of the house.”

Staff at the befriending service were saved from redundancy by the intervention of Inspired Villages earlier this year.

It also brings people together via monthly coffee mornings in Harper’s Coffee and Gifts as well as Caremark Maidstone.

A Christmas cruise takes place Saturday December 14 on board the Kentish Lady for a two-hour trip.Tickets are £10. For details on this and the pen pal initiative, email wendy.pfeiffer@ageukmaidstone.org.uk.

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone.


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