Jamie, Fany, and Kat

Kat, Mum of Jamie who is supported by Equal Futures, has shared with us how Fany helped change Jamie's life through being a befriender volunteer at Equal Futures.

Our family

Hi, my name is Katrina aka Kat. I am a single parent of two teenagers. Jamie is my eldest at 19 years old. I have no family support and we have no social support or care worker. I receive no respite, no official support and cannot work due to the care my sons require.

I adore my sons beyond everything!

Jamie has autism and has had some challenges to overcome over his life such as being very shy, light sensitivity, and not being overly confident on his feet. Since February 2022, he has barely left our home.

Equal Futures support

We were very lucky to hear about and have input from Equal Futures earlier this year and Jamie was matched with a volunteer befriender.

Initially Jamie was very reluctant to watch the video of Fany introducing herself, but when she mentioned some of her games, online interests, and music… Jamie was hooked!


Since then Fany has been coming to our home to spend time with Jamie. She has worked hard at laying the foundations of their relationship and over time I have watched Jamie actively look forward to seeing her. Fany messages Jamie regularly and therefore has allowed their friendship grow even when she is not here in person.

Making a difference for Jamie

Jamie never replies to texts, he ignores email messages and does not participate in social media… but he now responds to any messages from Fany in less than an hour. It is amazing! This may be a small, insignificant detail to some, but it is a huge step for my son.

Recently Fany and Jamie went for a short walk around our local streets. Then he went to the national museum for 90 minutes!

Jamie is chattier now and is beginning to show an interest in things outside his room. He has even agreed to go out on another trip soon, something he would never have agreed to before he met Fany.

Jamie gives me a huge smile when I ask him if he is enjoying spending time with Fany and says “thank you”.

It’s really amazing to witness Jamie’s difference along the way. I could never take all the credit for his change – it’s also down to Kat, our Equal Futures Coordinator and of course Jamie. I believe I learn and grow alongside him. Jamie is very intelligent. He is rather talkative and makes witty comments when the subject is something he knows about. He knows what he wants, and our conversation is effortless.

– Fany, Jamie’s befriender

Making a difference for the family

Autism doesn’t just affect the individual; it affects the entire family. Knowing he has no outside interests or friends and leaving him home alone when I have to go out, is heart breaking.

Jamie is happier to be left now, as I can now text him and he knows why I am late or if something has unexpectedly cropped up.

The future

Equal Futures have changed my son’s life. And I am very much looking forward to what lies ahead for Jamie. The bleak future I envisaged is slowly disappearing into hope and happiness for him.

“A befriender can break down social barriers that I, as his mum, cannot. He is so much more than a teenager terrified of life outside and Fany is helping him to grow into the young man he can be.”

Thank you thank you thank you!


Want to make a positive impact in the lives of people like Jamie? Start your volunteering journey with Equal Futures today!