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Eddie's Befriending Scheme for Cambridgeshire people with learning disabilities

Eddie's is a Cambridgeshire charity supporting people with learning disabilities. It used to be part of Cambridgeshire Mencap and has been offering community services for 10 years, providing a wide range of services for children, young people and adults with learning disabilities, and their families and carers.

As at April 2015, there are 20 young people on the waiting list. However, people aren’t matched on a first come first served bases, it very much depends on the interests, personality, location and age of volunteers and young people. Someone who is referred to us may be matched immediately, or it could take much longer to find someone suitable.  Those on the waiting list can attend Eddie's BefriendingWorks group in Fulbourn, which takes place on the 3rd Saturday of every month.  This group take part in games, art activities, karaoke and more.

There is also an adult befriending scheme which currently supports adults in the Edmund Trust’s supported living accommodation.  The Edmund Trust is the sister charity to Eddie’s and provides residential care, supported living accommodation and respite and domiciliary care in the community.

Generally, volunteers will visit their befriendees twice a month for two hours at a time, although this can vary from once a week to once a month.  After applying to be a volunteer, applicants are interviewed and, once accepted onto the volunteer training scheme, they are required to complete four courses covering Volunteering; Learning Disability Awareness, Autism Awareness, and Safe Guarding. 

Once matched, the befriender and befriendee can go and enjoy themselves in the community doing things that the befriendee wants to do – bowling, going to the cinema, cycling, walking,  or shopping. Alternatively befriendees may like to stay at home to enjoy artwork, or computer games.