Brian has been a volunteer with DePaul Ireland since October 2012. He is a Befriending and Activities Volunteer. Brian began gradually with the project, initially coming in twice a week for befriending and hospital visits but over the course of the year he has become an integral member of the volunteer team, attending four times a week. Brian has done important one-to-one work with a number of service users, building relationships with vulnerable, marginalised men and assisting them to become more confident and outgoing. He has worked with two people on Life Story books, helping people to gain an increased sense of ownership around their own experiences and to extract positive memories from painful pasts. Brian has also provided a consistent hospital visiting service, ensuring that service users who are in hospital receive a friendly visit and listening time at least once or twice a week.
Brian has also become an important part of the breakfast club, the baking programme and the outings programme, working with other volunteers to provide a consistent, respectful and empowering service. These programmes would not be in existence without the support of dedicated volunteers like Brian. One resident commented that the outings were the best experience he had had in fifty years. Orla McAndrew nominated Brian for a Volunteer Ireland Award, she said, “Brian has a warmth, dignity and compassion that service users respond to in kind. It has been a moving experience to witness the gentleness with which he treats service users and how they meet him with an equal capacity. He is a deeply caring man and service users see this and respond to him in the same way.“
Photo courtesy of Anne Reid