Dundee-based charity BeFriends is celebrating 40 years of providing support for socially isolated young people.
The charity helps children and young people aged five to 25 socialise by recruiting, training and matching volunteers to those in need.
Once matched, the pair meets one-on-one every week or two to enjoy activities together to promote positive relationships, self-confidence and encourage new experiences.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary, charity workers have encouraged young people and their volunteers to carry out 40 acts of kindness.
BeFriends project worker Niamh Filan said: “Carrying out 40 acts of kindness, baking 40 cupcakes, picking 40 pieces of litter or 40 sessions of sea swimming are just some of the ideas we have so far.
“Enjoying some holiday fun activities in the community is the purpose of our challenge.
“It highlights our main befriending aims.”
The last year has proven especially difficult for the charity, with the pandemic limiting in-person socialising.
“From April last year we went virtual with everything,” said Niamh.
“We managed to get some funding so that we could purchase some resources and activity books to go out to our young people so they can take part in online activities.
“We’ve done everything: escape rooms, panic rooms, quizzes, Harry Potter virtual tours, bingo nights, you name it we’ve done it.
“We grabbed any opportunity we had to go back to face-to-face, because it’s so important to have that face-to-face interaction.”
With socialising being the priority of the charity, they are keen to move back to fully meeting up in-person as soon as possible, particularly as referrals start to increase after slowing last year at the peak of the pandemic.
“We’ve adapted as best we can.” Niamh said.
“It has been hard, a lot of our young people don’t love video calling.
“I think that is a misconception – that young people are always using technology and on their phones, but it’s not something that everyone is comfortable with.
“We’ve had to come up with different ways of doing it.”