We are looking for people from all walks of life with varying life experience and skills. We’re also looking for people with different interests and personalities. We are really thorough in our selection of volunteers though and some characteristics are essential. We need all our volunteers to be friendly, reliable, consistent and motivated to help and support young people. We also need them to be understanding, approachable and kind.
Each match is tailor-made and unique. This means that each match chooses the activities that they would like to do together from their shared interests. So that could be badminton, football, Zumba, swimming, knitting, programming, visits to cafes, the cinema, the beach, anything really. If we can risk assess it to make it safe, then you can probably do it.
The Co-ordinators main role is to support each individual match and to help the match be the best that it can be. This means that the Co-ordinators are ready and waiting to offer any support that they can to volunteers. The Project also organises group events for volunteers to get together with each other, share how they’ve been getting on with their young person, and make other friends within the Befriending Team. Befriending isn’t just a 1 to 1 activity, it’s a team activity too. When you join the Young people’s Befriending Project, you join a team.
Yes! We love to all meet together, so we have at least 4 – 6 sessions a year when we all meet together (volunteers and young people) and take part in a group activity and meal together.
All volunteers are welcomed onto the team subject to a satisfactory PVG check, the receipt of two satisfactory references and the completion of our training course in full. Our foundation training course consists of two full days of training covering a wide range of topics from confidentiality, to support and supervision, to listening and communication skills. It may be that the young person that a volunteer is matched with has additional needs, so training to help a volunteer offer the best support to the young person would be provided or sourced by the Project.
Each match is reviewed after the first 6 weeks, and then every 6 months. At each review the Co-ordinator meets with the young person, volunteer and parent/carers and gathers their views and feedback on the match. The co-ordinator also offers an open door policy, so everyone involved in a match can get in touch with concerns or feedback at any time.
All matches last for at least 6 months (this is the minimum requirement for volunteers) but most continue beyond this point, with some lasting for years. The duration of the match is generally determined by the need of the young person and the availability of the volunteer.
No, absolutely not. The Project covers all the costs associated with befriending. So we cover travel expenses for volunteers and young people. We cover admission to activities like the cinema or the Dounby Show, and we cover expenses like food and any equipment needed. No volunteer or young person should ever be out of pocket.
Yes and no. The Project takes confidentiality very seriously and is careful what information is shared out with the Project. However, this confidentiality has limits, and if a volunteer or staff member is concerned about the safety and welfare of a young person (or volunteer), then they will share this information with the appropriate authorities. Anonymous data is also shared with our funders and our management board.
Please click here to read our Befriender Role Description.