Community Befrienders

ICANN stands for Independent Community Advocacy Network North and is an advocacy service based in Preston that delivers a range of projects across Lancashire, providing professional and experienced advocacy support to the most vulnerable in our local communities.

Like many organisations at the moment, ICANN needs new volunteers. The last couple of years have completely changed the landscape for volunteering, from what volunteers do, to what kind of volunteers do them, and many activities have seen volunteer numbers decline.

What hasn’t declined though is the number of people in need of the services and support offered by the thousands of not-for-profit organisations that exist right across the district.

One area where ICANN is in real need is for their new community befriending project.

Zoe Alimeri, ICANN’s volunteer coordinator, said “COVID has really had an impact on how people take part in society, with many people anxious about going back to in-person events and activities in their communities. Our community befriending volunteers will offer a vital bridge to support those people in staying connected. Loneliness and isolation can destroy someone’s life, and by volunteering with ICANN you can make a real, positive, immediate difference to someone else.”

Volunteers for this project will support lonely and isolated people face to face, not at the service user’s own home but out in the community, perhaps meeting for a coffee, accompanying them to an activity, or helping them to find a new hobby.

Sue is a volunteer who has been with ICANN for some time, having previously been a volunteer with Citizens Advice. “One thing I learned in both roles is that when you help others, you help yourself,” she says. Sue helps with one of ICANN’s other projects and is enthusiastic about how ICANN support volunteers to make a difference. “It’s a real privilege to be trusted by clients; it is also very humbling,” she continues, and calls her volunteering experience very rewarding.

If you feel like you could support someone in Lancaster district to get the most out of life, why not contact Zoe at ICANN for a chat? You can email [email protected] or you can call 01772 746016, and you can also contact Lancaster District CVS.