Borders Buddies in Hawick and Tweeddale
Borders Buddies began life as a post-pandemic pilot in Tweeddale.
The project works by supporting people who have become isolated due to various circumstances to reconnect, with the support of a volunteer Buddy. People are paired with others with common interests.
Thanks to National Lottery Improving Lives funding, we secured funding to take it to Hawick and wider Tweeddale for two years. The funding has also allowed for the employment of new staff in Hawick, who know the local area well.
Outside the Box then joined the PVG scheme so that Buddies can be police checked for any vulnerable people they will work with.
What we’ve done so far
We organised two launch events in the two areas we planned to work in. These were informal drop-in events with a soup lunch. We invited local partners, workers and other interested people, from statutory, private and third sector. We gave a brief presentation and answered questions about the project and how it would work.
So far having had a number of referrals from professionals, community groups and family members, it can take a couple of months from first contact to setting up a successful Buddy pair. We are always clear from the outset that it may take some time and that we support people to try out their buddying to make sure the other person is right for them.
Hawick success story
In Hawick one digital short term Buddy pairing was set up. This was to support someone who had received an iPad but needed support to set it up. The person requiring support had long Covid and did not wish to see people face to face. The Buddy supported them over the phone. This pairing has now come to an end as the person has the confidence to do what they need to do so no longer requires a buddy.
There have been great benefits for Buddies too.
“I could do this all day, every day – I wish it was my job!”
There have been people all ages getting involved in the project including one Buddy aged 80 supporting a much younger person.
We are still learning as we go and the project is evolving over time, depending on who comes our way, what their needs are and how the project can work for them. You can read our latest case study here: https://otbds.org/borders-buddies-case-study/