This opportunity is ongoing, with no end date.
We believe that every child deserves the best chance in life and that it is okay for families to need a little help sometimes. Our mission is simple: for every volunteer we recruit and train, that is another family we can provide support to. It is important for us to continually recruit volunteer family befrienders so we can provide our core service of home-based supportive visits consistently to families across the South of the city.
If you have parenting or carer experience and feel passionate about making a difference to people, we want to hear from you!
Families are referred to us when they are struggling to cope with their current circumstances. This can be for a variety of reasons, with each having a unique story and set of needs. The aim is to enable these families to lead less stressful and more enjoyable lives.
Volunteers will develop many skills through their work with families, such as communication, problem solving, leadership, self-reflection and providing support.
Each family will vary in what they need from a volunteer, but your role could involve activities with children, practical/emotional support or help with accessing services. Volunteers are asked to allow 2-3 hours per week for visiting, with travel time added either side of this.
Our volunteers gain a lot from working with us, too:
• Rewarding experience of direct work with families
• Build knowledge of working and communicating with children, parents and other volunteers
• Experience of completing a thorough training course and opportunities for additional, free training such as First Aid and Autism Awareness
To ensure volunteers feel ready and have a clear understanding of their role and Home Start, there is a relatively thorough recruitment and training process:
• Application form – tell us more about you and your life
• Initial meeting – to allow your Family Support Co-ordinator to find out details about you and your experiences, qualities and skills; usually this takes place in your home
• Volunteer Training Course
• Final interview – tie up any loose ends and to check your availability/preferences
At the end of this process we will get to work pairing you with a local family with at least one child under the age of 8. This can take some time so please be patient - getting matches correct ensures the best possible experience for everyone.
Once paired, volunteers need to allow some time to record details of visits and monthly meetings with your co-ordinator for support and supervision. Don't worry, these parts can take place from the comfort of your own home!
Benefits to self
You will develop and enhance many skills, including communication with different types of people (children, parents, staff, other volunteers) and overcoming problems in an effective way. This role also provides great experience for those looking to work with families/in the care sector.
Benefits to others
The families we match with volunteers get so much from the visits. Having a reliable person spend a few hours with them a week is often enough to be life-changing for them, as they may otherwise be going through chaotic and/or challenging times. Volunteers allow us to support more families each week
Family befrienders complete an initial 9-week training course before being matched and starting their visits. This thorough course covers many important topics, such as Child Protection, working with refugee and asylum seekers, confidentiality, communication and boundary setting. We also offer several additional training sessions throughout the year that are optional for volunteers to attend. For example, First Aid and Autism Awareness. We welcome suggestions from volunteers for training ideas.
Support and supervision details
You will be supported consistently throughout your volunteer journey. Once matched, you will have supervision every 4-6 weeks to discuss progress with the family and your volunteer experience overall. We are also happy to chat or meet with you more frequently as required to offer any support needed.
- TypeRefugee & Asylum seeking people, Befriending, Children, Health and Wellbeing, Mental Health