Befriending plea

ROB Jakeman has been volunteering with Cambridgeshire Mencap for just over a year.

Rob heard about Cambridgeshire Mencap at a volunteering event held in his workplace and was impressed by the difference the charity makes to the lives of people with learning disabilities and their families. So, Rob decided to get involved as a volunteer and opted to go for the Befriending Scheme.

He explained: “I am a befriender with a chap called Matt, this involves going to his house once a fortnight, having a cup of tea with Matt and his nan, catching up with what has been going on recently, before going into town, playing some footie or killing some zombies on the X Box! It’s just like meeting one of your mates who needs a bit of your spare time.”

Matt enjoys spending time with someone who is interested in similar things and has found that his confidence has grown, particularly in using public transport to go into town. Matt said “I really enjoy being part of the befriending scheme; I look forward to spending time with Rob because we enjoy doing the same things, like ten pin bowling and football. I feel like I have really got a lot out of the scheme. I am really pleased.”

The befriending scheme helps people with a learning disability to make friends and spend time with new people, helping them to get out and enjoy themselves. There are 39 people waiting for a volunteer befriender to help them to get out and try new things. It only takes a few hours a month and it really does change someone’s life. To find out more about becoming a befriender why not contact Rebecca Irons at

It’s really easy to become a volunteer with Cambridgeshire Mencap. As Rob explained. “After the volunteering event at work the scheme co-ordinator rang me to arrange an interview. It wasn’t a real interview, just a nice friendly chat explaining what happens next and to answer any questions I had about the scheme. We had a few forms to fill in and some training sessions to attend. I met Matt with the scheme co-ordinator and that’s it, we’ve been meeting each other regularly ever since. It’s been really rewarding to be involved in the scheme and the co-ordinators also arrange get-togethers for all of the volunteers so that you feel part of a bigger network of volunteers and can share experiences with them.”

Rob said, “I’m so glad I got in touch about volunteering, if you’re thinking about volunteering just do it, you’ll never regret it.”

To find out more about volunteering, call Pat Scott at the Cambridge office on 01223 883140 or email