Become a Volunteer
Our volunteers support families with young children who are going through a challenging time, whether that is caused by emotional, financial, or health issues. We offer short term support to families, usually for around 6 – 8 weeks. Our volunteers work each week with their appointed family, helping them to get back up on their own feet. Volunteers can also fundraise for and promote Family Friends or become a Trustee.
Families may require an extra pair of hands to get out of the house with all their children and lack the confidence to do it on their own. Alternatively, families may be experiencing postnatal depression and would find some adult company comforting and supportive. Even having a cup of tea and chat on a regular basis with some of our families can make a huge difference to their coping strategies and how they get through the day. We would ask you to offer 2 hours a week to spend with a family, plus time travelling to and from their home. Our support is short term so you would not be continually supporting the same family. We would work with you to match you to families which you feel confident with.
Once trained, we call a volunteer a “Professional Friend”; forming a supportive, action-oriented and caring professional friendship with our lovely families.
We welcome people with creative ideas, energy and enthusiasm to work alongside our fundraiser and other members of the team.
Help to guide and support the charity now and in the future.
What is my commitment as a volunteer?
We ask that volunteers commit 2-3 hours with a family each week for around 6 – 8 weeks. After six sessions, the support is reviewed with you and the family and may be extended. You won’t always be matched up with a family, and there will always be a discussion between you and our team before you commit to a family. Our team will work carefully to match you up with a family we think you could help with your skills, experience, and knowledge.
What do I gain from being a volunteer?
- Developing new skills and enhancing existing skills.
- Being a part of a friendly and fun team.
- Training opportunities such as first aid, safeguarding etc.
- Complimentary benefits such as relaxation classes and fun workshops.
- Support from a professional team.
- Being a part of the local community.
- Volunteer meet ups such as coffee mornings and picnics.
Applying to become a volunteer
- Are you 18 + years old?
- Can you spare two or three hours a week?
- Are you reliable, trustworthy, and non-judgmental?
- Are you enthusiastic, empathetic, and caring?
- Do you have good listening and communication skills?
- Do you love your community and want to help it thrive?
If you answer yes to all of these then please consider signing up as a volunteer and completing our application form. You do not need any prior experience. For more information, please read the Volunteer Information Pack and Volunteer Role Description.
"So the support I offered has come to a happy, positive end. Please give me a call to let me know about the possible next family."
- Family Friends Volunteer
"I'm currently sat working on my university application form and writing all about my work with Family Friends. It really has been an absolute privilege to work with the families and I have gained so much relevant experience. Thank you!"
- Family Friends Volunteer
"Our volunteers are the integral lifeblood of our organisation, and they are hugely valued by us and all of the families they support."
- Family Friends
The application form is a chance for you to tell us about yourself, your skills, and what interests you in volunteering for us. The form is fairly comprehensive so that you can tell us about your strengths. It will also give us a good picture of whether or not volunteering with Family Friends is right for you.
Once we have received your completed application form, our Family Support Co-Ordinator will contact you to arrange an informal interview at our office with them. You may also have an opportunity to meet other members of the team.
We will take up to two references for you, one from your current employer and one from your previous employer. If you have not worked in a long time, then we can take references from two other sources who could comment on your personal or professional attributes. This does not include family members.
It is Family Friends Policy that every prospective volunteer undergoes a DBS check to confirm that you do not have any criminal convictions that would prevent you from being able to work with children or vulnerable adults.
Every prospective volunteer is expected to attend our induction day, which covers all the practical information, knowledge, and skills to help prepare you to support a family. This includes health and safety training, safeguarding, and an introduction to Family Friends. You will also get to meet other new volunteers. We also hold regular training sessions, which we ask you to attend. They top up your knowledge and keep you up to date with the latest information.
Our programmes of further training cover areas such as listening skills, postnatal depression, autism, domestic abuse, and attachment. All of our training is free.
Once all checks have been completed, you will be sent our volunteer agreement to sign. Then, you are good to go!
Ongoing support for volunteers
We are grateful for our volunteers’ time and commitment. In return, we strive to ensure you feel well supported in your role. We provide opportunities to build on your existing skills and knowledge with regular training, volunteer social gatherings, and continued support from the Family Support Co-Ordinator.
The Family Support Co-Ordinator is available to discuss any problems, queries, or concerns that you have. They also offer telephone supervision to help you reflect on your work with families, your personal/professional development, and celebrate your successes. The Family Support Co-Ordinator will contact you after your initial visit to each family and will keep in touch throughout the period of support.