Call for befriendees aged 18 to 24 to take part in research project

Primary interest
Voluntary sector

Warda Zeeshan, a Master’s student at the University of Birmingham, is looking for people aged 18 to 24 with experience as a befriendee, to take part in her research exploring the role of befriending services in tackling loneliness and social isolation in young adults. Read more about the study in Warda’s letter to potential participants below and contact Warda if you know of anyone who would like to take part.

Dear Befriendees,

Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I hope you are all keeping well. My name is Warda Zeeshan and I am currently doing my M. Ed degree from the University of Birmingham. I was also a volunteer at Bucks Mind as a befriender. While doing my volunteering as a befriender I was very curious to see how our involvement will help you in your life, and how we befrienders and befriending services can make the befriending experience better for you.

My research topic, as part of my degree, inspired by my experiences, is ‘An exploration of the role of befriending services in tackling loneliness and social isolation in young adults identified with mental health issues’. Now, I’m asking for your help! I need you to talk to me about your experiences; for example, what you found good, what was disappointing, what is something that you would want to change and how you are feeling towards the end of it.

What you need to know:
  • There is no obligation for you to participate. But by doing so you could help me understand the limitations of current services so they can be made even better for people after you.
  • As I am focused on young adults, you need to be 18–24 years of age.
  • There are no right or wrong answers. I want to listen to your honest opinions, and you will not be judged on your responses.
  • Your anonymity will be maintained.
  • You can bring anyone with you who you are comfortable with, e.g. your support worker, a family member, a friend or even your befriender. If you feel uncomfortable at any point, we will stop.
  • Depending on the latest government guidelines at the time of the interview, it can either be done online or at a place you are most comfortable with. The duration of the interview will be between 45–60 minutes.
  • I may need to read your referral form for the befriending service or talk to your support worker before or after the interview. The purpose of that would be to understand the impact of befriending services better. I will ask your permission first before doing so.
  • The interview will be recorded on a digital voice recorder. This will later be transcribed and then deleted. These records will be handled as confidentially as possible.
How to contact me:
  • If you have any questions or concerns about your participation in this study, you can contact me on wxz697@student.bham.ac.uk or 07340237657. I am more than happy to call you back if needed.
  • If you do not wish to do this, you may contact my tutor, Colette Soan, at c.a.soan@bham.ac.uk or 0121 4143472, or you can contact the Programme Lead, Neil Hall at the School of Education on 0121 4144866. They will both be more than happy to talk to you.

Warm wishes,

Warda Zeeshan

Student Researcher