Our Frequently Asked Questions for volunteering; please click on the title to read it.
Throughout the assessment and training period, which usually takes around 3 months, we build up a picture of you – your interests, strengths, background and life experiences. We balance this with our knowledge of the child’s needs and the family situation.
All applicants and their partners are required to complete an Enhanced Criminal Records Bureau Disclosure form before being accepted onto the scheme. Any Disclosure information revealed will not be used unfairly and a criminal record will not necessarily be a bar to obtaining a position. If there are any matters that do come to light in the disclosure information these will be discussed with you.
Having identified a possible child or children, these are discussed with you and a decision is made to go ahead with one particular child. We then arrange for you, together with your caseworker, to meet with the child and the parent at the family home. There is then time to consider how everyone feels and to make a decision about whether to go ahead. Sometimes – particularly with a very young child – a parent may request a first meeting without the child present in order that the adults can explore how they will get along together. The success of the friendship is dependent on a respectful relationship developing between the child’s parent and their befriender so these meeting can be very helpful.
You arrange with the parent a time to call and take the child out. We ask you to see the child once a week but recognise this might not always be possible given work and holiday arrangements. If you can’t keep to these commitments you will need to let the parent and the child know in advance and if you are away then to stay in touch by phone or letter.
The outings usually last for 3-4 hours and can include anything from playing football to sitting chatting in a café. Whatever you and your friend decide would be mutually enjoyable. The emphasis is on time spent together not on providing expensive treats.
Befrienders are not paid but there is a fund (albeit limited) to cover the expenses you incur when you see your child every week.