Volunteering as a One To One Befriender
There are currently 70 established One-to-One links running across Suffolk through The Befriending Scheme. However, we still have many members on our waiting list and are always looking for volunteer Befrienders!
What is a Befriender?
The Befriending Scheme work with members who are vulnerable adults experiencing social isolation and loneliness. A Befriender is a volunteer who is matched with a member on our waiting list and who provides this member with friendship, companionship and the opportunity to get out and about in their local community where possible.
We asked some our linked friends what they thought of each other, they said:
“He’s such a character, we really do get on well. It’s a proper friendship”
“She’s really good, she keep an eye on me and gives me advice and makes suggestions if I have a problem”
“I get something out of it too, I like to be able to support somebody who needs it”
“She’s like the sister I never had”
How does the matching process work?
Volunteer Befrienders are specifically matched with a member on our waiting list, taking into account location, hobbies, interests and personality. We also take into account individual needs.
Volunteers are provided with up to 5 suitable member profiles. Volunteers chose from these member profiles who they would like to meet with.
The first meeting will take place between the Link Co-Ordinator, volunteer and member at a place and time convenient to all. Further meetings are arranged on a trial basis. Volunteers and members will received ongoing support from their Link Co-ordinator and will be made to feel as comfortable as possible throughout this process.
What activities can linked friends do together?
The role of a Befriender is what you make it. Once linked, you and your linked friend can do anything from going shopping, going on day trips together, fishing or just meeting for a cup of tea and chat.
How often would I need to volunteer my time?
The role of a Befriender is very flexible and easy to work around even the busiest of lifestyles. Volunteers are required to meet with their linked friend for a minimum of just 2-3 hours each month. This could mean meeting your linked friend once a week, once every two weeks, or even once a month.
Am I able to claim volunteer expenses?
The Befriending Scheme reimburse volunteers up to £7.50 per visit with their linked friend. We also reimburse volunteers up to 100 miles per month at 45p a mile for travelling with or to see your linked friend.
What are the benefits of being a Befriender?
As a volunteer with The Befriending Scheme you will:
- Join a well-established team of volunteers
- Have access to ongoing support
- Meet new people
- Make new friends
- Gain experience with our members
- Have access to training opportunities
- Have fun!
Training opportunities include:
- Disability Awareness Training
Please get in touch to discuss other training options available to you. You will receive a certificate for each training course completed that will benefit your personal development and looks great on your CV.
How do I become a volunteer befriender?
Becoming a volunteer befriender is really easy, just download and print our volunteer application form using the link below.
Once completed, you will need to post your application form to the following address:
The Befriending Scheme
1 The Croft
Alternatively, you may call the office and request that an application form be sent to you via post. Once we have received your application, your Link Co-Ordinator will give you a call to discuss the One-to-One service in more detail.
Who can I contact to find out more?
If you have any questions at all about volunteering with us or would like to have an informal chat about the role before you look to apply, please contact the office on 01787 371 333. Alternatively, you can email us at [email protected]
We look forward to hearing from you!