Befriending Week 2016 – 5 minutes with Phil, a York Mind Befriender

(Befriending Focus Week, 4th – 8th July 2016)


York Mind’s Befriending Service is an important part of the range of recovery-focussed support the charity offers to local residents, who are currently experiencing isolation due to mental ill-health.


The service simply could not run without a team of valued volunteer Befrienders, each of whom donates their time each week to support someone in the community.


We catch up with Phil, a volunteer Befriender, to find out more.


When did you start volunteering with York Mind?

I started volunteering at York Mind mid-2010. I had been attending a group at York Mind, and felt it was time to move on and possibly do some voluntary work.


What inspired you to become a Befriender?

I wanted to help people who had mental health issues, as I could relate to this, and the best reassurance that I could give anyone was to be able to say “I know what you mean; I have been through it myself”.  I felt Befriending would be a good place to start, and I then moved on to also help run groups, and finally to help a bit with fund raising.


What have you enjoyed about your Befriending matches?

I have enjoyed getting to know people, and the people I have befriended have told me that they appreciate it and that I have been of help to them. The fact that I have been able to help people makes it all worthwhile.


What would you say to other people considering volunteering?

You have to be able to take the rough with the smooth, as Befriending has its ups and downs. I am retired, but experience as a volunteer looks good on a CV. You have to have some degree of commitment, as you have to go through training, and it is not helpful to a service user to drop them part way through a match. Crucially, just because you don’t get paid does not mean you do not feel rewarded.


York Mind are encouraging people in York and Selby to give 2 hours per week to reach out and support someone who is isolated due to mental ill-health.

The next training dates for volunteer Befrienders will take place in:

    • York on Thursday 18th & Thursday 25th August 2016
  • Selby on Wednesday 17th & Wednesday 24th August 2016

Volunteers are required to complete an Application Form and Interview prior to commencing training.

York Mind are urging people who would like to help to get in touch by:

For information about York Mind and how you can get involved, please visit

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