We ask you to be able to spend 1 to 2 hours with an older person each week for an agreed length of time (max. of 10 weeks involvement with one person)
Many people have become more isolated during Covid and may not have been able to return to their pre Covid activities. We are working with elderly people to support them to get in contact with their local community groups.
We are looking for befrienders willing to regularly visit a housebound member in Chopwell, Blackhall Mill, Rowlands Gill, High Spen, Greenside, Ryton, Crawcrook, Winlaton or Blaydon. We would then hope that, where possible, you could help them to connect with/ accompany them to their local community groups.
To offer short term, time limited, structured support to an isolated older person. The type of support will be determined by the individuals’ needs, with a focus on enabling the individual to re-gain confidence to live more independently and re-engage in their community
Our Help to Connect service differs from traditionally one to one Befriending, where emphasis is on building longer term relationships, to offer a time limited, structured plan of support. Befriender Enablers will work with isolated older people who may still be able to physically get out and about, but may lack the confidence to do so. Individuals who may have suffered some sort of set back or crisis in their lives such as a fall, a spell in hospital or loss of a loved one and need a little support and encouragement to enable them to get back on track.
The Befriender Enablers role will be to provide encouragement to enable the individual to achieve an agreed personal target over an agreed period of time. Such targets may be to enable the person to use public transport on their own, this could be achieved by ‘bus buddying’, accompanying them on local bus journeys and building up their confidence in their own ability. Alternatively they may wish to join a local exercise or activity group, but would like someone to accompany them until they get to know other people in the group and feel able to get their on their own.
- Establish and build a friendly and open relationship with the member whilst establishing and maintaining appropriate boundaries.
- Spend time/share activities with the member as agreed at the start of the befriending relationship
- Ensure that the older person’s needs are put first within all tasks and communication, whilst respecting the members’ privacy and independence.
- You will maintain confidentiality, except in reporting back to the person that supports you, or in circumstances that will be discussed in your training.
- Notify the person that supports you of any issues, difficulties or concerns relating to the visits, or the well-being of the member.
- Undertake all training, or support meetings, as agreed with the person who supports you.
- Complete basic reporting and administrative tasks associated with the role. (e.g. Expenses Claim Forms, Record of Visits)
- Inform your named contact at the earliest opportunity of any change in circumstances which affect your ability to continue with volunteering, such as holidays or periods of time you cannot volunteer
- To be familiar with and to adhere MHA’s Health and Safety Policies and policies relating to your volunteering role
- Assist the Manager in assessing the potential risks, and to notify them of any concerns you may have for both the Health & Safety of the member and yourself arising from the agreed activities of the visit, ensuring you’re adhering to MHA’s Health and Safety and Lone Visiting Policies.
• Patience, empathy and understanding of the needs of older people
• Ability to motivate and encourage others
• Good listening skills
• Reliable and punctual and flexible
• Clear sense of personal boundaries
• Supportive and non-judgemental
• Respect and maintain confidentiality
• Willingness to engage with training and development
• Good understanding of your personal strengths and limitations
Skills desirable for the role
• Ability to use a computer to send in reports, undergo training, and keep in touch with your named contact
Benefits for the Volunteer
• We will provide you with a full induction for the role
• You will be asked to attend additional role specific training, some of which must be completed before you start your role. The training includes Walk Leader or Dementia Adventure Training, Health and Safety, and Safeguarding
• Ongoing support from a named contact, usually the manager or Community Co-ordinator
• Out of pocket expenses in accordance with MHA’s Expenses Policy
• You will also need to complete the following training:
• Moving and Handling Safely
• Fire Safety
• Dementia Friends online course