The characteristics of a befriender
We are looking for reliable volunteers who have a warm and sociable outlook. Befrienders should be open-minded and accepting of others. We would expect you to have a relaxed and confident manner, as well as being able to offer a good listening ear and a willingness to join in activities of your befriendee.
It is important that befrienders maintain confidentiality of information regarding befriendees and honour their trust and confidence at all times. All befrienders will be required to sign a Confidentiality Declaration.
Anyone aged 16 or over, employed or unemployed and from any social, racial/ethnic background can apply to join the scheme. It is not essential that you have any previous knowledge of disabilities such Autism and can cope with challenging behaviours or learning disabilities, although this may be of benefit.
We are also looking for teenagers and young people who are able to demonstrate maturity and confidence around our client group. We are happy to give you additional support and training.
Anyone willing to be a part of our new befriending scheme and who is prepared to abide by the Organisation procedures, which have been drawn up for your safety as well as that of the client should contact us on 020 8671 8939.
The role of the befriender
The objective of the befriending scheme is to enhance the quality of a young person’s life by offering them a trusting friendship.
You may visit a young person at a club activity and have a chat, or help a young person to get out of the house more, by going out together to the cinema or museum, or by visiting a café, by going bowling etc. A befriender will not be expected to take young people to private homes.
Frequency of contact
This will depend upon yourself and how much spare time you have to commit to the scheme. This could be as often as two hours on a weekly or fortnightly basis. It is important that you visit regularly and it fits in well with your life. Where possible, we ask befrienders to stay with the scheme for a minimum of six months.
Induction and training
There will be four 2-hour training sessions. These will cover matters such as confidentiality, listening skills, boundaries for a befriending relationship and personal safety. You will also learn about Lifelong Family Links services and our policies and procedures.
Support and supervision
During your time as a befriender the Lifelong Family Links volunteer Project worker will keep in close contact with you. On your first visit, you will be accompanied by the befriendees key worker and the Project Worker. It will be necessary for you to provide regular feedback to the coordinator on how the relationship is progressing. If you experience any difficulties or have any concerns, you will be able to contact the scheme.
Once you have completed your training, we will endeavour to match you with an appropriate client as quickly as possible.
Befrienders are entitled to claim expenses. These include transport costs and other agreed activity expenses.
How to apply
If you feel that you are interested in becoming a befriender with our scheme, please contact us for further information. If you have any questions, please feel free to telephone the scheme coordinator on 0208 671 8939.
When we have received your references, we will invite you to attend for an interview with the scheme coordinator. If you are accepted onto the scheme, we will try to identify a suitable befriendee as soon as you have successfully completed your induction and training. If this is not the case, we will explain why and may be able to suggest alternative volunteering opportunities.
We are a not-for-profit organisation that provides services to young people with disabilities, support to families and adults that need special companion.
© 2017 Lifelong Family Links. Charity No. 1073963 Company No. 3956496. NACCC No: 1546/4 . All Rights Reserved.