The time you give as a Befriender will make a real difference to a young person’s life
For a young carer, befriending provides vital one to one support, positive social interaction, self esteem and reduces stress. Trained and supported volunteers are key to this valuable and rewarding service.
Who can become a befriender?
There is no typical befriender, our volunteers come from all walks of life – students, people working full time, part time, retired or not working – as long as you are over 18 and have some regular free time to commit. You will need to be a good listener, caring, understanding and have a level of perseverance and respect the confidential nature of being a befriender.
What will it involve?
- Meeting regularly with the young carer, for 2-3 hours on a weekly or fortnightly basis for around six months.
- Engaging with the young carer in a positive way, offering support helpful to them and their particular circumstances.
- Allowing the young carer space to relax away from their caring responsibilities. Each meeting could be different and might involve talking, participating in an interest or hobby or letting off steam through physical activity.
- Accompanying the young carer out in the community, whether taking a walk, visiting a museum, participating in sport activity or going to a café.
Befriending meetings are likely to take place local to the young carer and volunteer, preferences will be taken into consideration during the matching process. Our young carers all currently live within South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse. While not essential, having a valid licence and access to a vehicle would be useful in rural areas. All reasonable expenses are covered by Be Free Young Carers, such as travel and activity costs for both the befriender and the young carer.
All volunteer befrienders are required to provide two references, have an enhanced DBS check and complete our training and induction.
Training and Support
Be Free Young Carers staff will support you through the application and comprehensive training process, ensuring that you are fully equipped to become a befriender. Training will include safeguarding, communication, boundaries and confidentiality and ensure you know what to do in different situations.
Once matched, befrienders are supported with monthly discussions with staff and frequent meetings to discuss progress. Our Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator can be contacted by phone or email to discuss any aspect of befriending. We also have regular peer support events, enabling befrienders to meet as a group, exchange ideas, share experiences and receive further training as required.
Benefits to you
- Making a difference to the life of a young carer is incredibly rewarding! You will have the opportunity to use your experience and knowledge to benefit a vulnerable young person.
- You will learn transferable skills for the workplace, gain experience in working with young people in a supportive role and receive specialised training and support from our specialist staff.
- Although mostly a one to one activity, you will become part of our befriending community, meeting like-minded people and taking part in group events.
- Get out and about, try new activities, learn new skills and make the most of your free time!