What is 'YOPEY Befriender'?
YOPEY Befriender is an offshoot of Young People of the Year where young people are offered the opportunity to join a scheme where they give to their local community.
In particular they are asked to befriend residents in care homes local to their school.
YOPEY Befriender was started in 2013 after YOPEY founder Tony Gearing became aware of surveys into the lonely elderly. It was found that more than one million people over the age of 65 considered themselves lonely most or all of the time. Some 400,000 considered a pet or the TV as their ‘best friend’.
Tony quickly calculated that there was one million sixth-formers in the UK and if these could be persuaded to identify who lived alone in their street and offer to visit them, this problem could soon be solved.
“My initial idea was that the sixth-formers would go along to the lonely person's home and offer to visit them once a week ” said Tony. “But I was advised this was too risky, putting vulnerable young people with vulnerable old people in an unsupervised environment.”
Not to be defeated, Tony wondered how he could come up with a scheme that achieved similar goals without compromising safety. He thought of care homes and contact Runwood Group, which has over 60 care homes and has been a regular Young People of the Year sponsor for several years.
Runwood embraced the YOPEY Befriender scheme and the rest, as they say, is history.
Thinking of doing a Life Story?
Turn to the next page from the bottom of this page for methods and ideas......
Ideas for befriending care home residents
Turn to the next page from the bottom of this page for conversation starters, arts and crafts ideas and plenty of other stuff and how to do them.
First film about YOPEY Befrienders
Watch the film immediately below about Year 10 and Year 12 pupils from two schools in Bury St Edmunds, and the elderly people they have befriended at two care homes in the Suffolk town...