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Farewell to all!

It is with some sadness that I share the news that I am moving on from my role as Befriender Coordinator at KASP. I will be taking up a new post at Tayside Council on Alcohol, in effect going back to my roots in the addiction field. I have enjoyed my time at KASP immensely and it was a difficult decision to make but one that feels right.

I came to KASP in April 2021 to a service that was waiting to come alive. I was offered great support from a wonderful group of people from management, staff and volunteers, to get the project up and running.

I met to assess our very first befriendee in June 2021. Since then we have offered support to 15 befriendees and have trained and supported 15 volunteer befrienders. I have enjoyed meeting every single one of them and have built some really lovely relationships with them all.

We have grown a caring, compassionate and supportive service. Some of our volunteers gained skills that helped them progress into employment and others that were able to hone their existing skills. Our befriendees have grown in confidence, made connections in their communities and built great relationships with the befrienders. It has been wonderful to watch and some of them have continued to remain friends after the befriending relationship has come to an end.

As a team we have had some great fun too. We celebrated volunteer’s week with mindfulness and wellness goodie bags, we met for coffee and cake, we had a social event which included our befriendees and we felt part of the whole team at KASP through our full team days and training events.

In September 2022, after a lot of hard work and improving the service, we achieved the Quality in Befriending Award through the Befriending Network. This marked our distinction in delivering a safe and compassionate service which recognises good practice.

“The Quality in Befriending (QiB) Award is the only award in the UK which is specifically tailored for befriending services” – Befriending Network

During my time as coordinator, I have grown both personally and professionally. I have learned new skills including managing people and although there have been some difficult decisions to be made, I have always felt the support from line management. Being in an environment surrounded by counsellors, I took the decision to finally begin my own journey and applied to college to become a qualified counsellor. This has been a dream of mine for a long time and watching, listening and learning from those around me inspired me to make the move.

I am immensely proud of what I have achieved at KASP, and grateful for the experiences. As I hand over to Joy (KASP Manager) I know that in the interim the service is in good hands and that whoever will replace me will continue to build and grow the service for years to come.