Since the launch of our Later Life Community service in February 2021, we have seen an increased need for a countywide befriending service for people in later years. There has been no such service since the closure of Age UK Suffolk in the Summer of 2020. We want to change this, but with a focus on supporting the individual as closely as possible within their community – recognising that community means different things to different people.
Over 17,000 people in Suffolk aged 65+ say that they are often or always lonely.
We are launching a four-tier befriending service:
Countywide – telephone, digital and penpal
Community based – face to face, both in and out of the home
We are looking for dedicated volunteers to support older people who may feel isolated and lonely.
Description of Role:
- To represent CTEA and promote our services where required.
- All volunteers will attend a short Induction with the Befriending and Volunteering Manager before the role begins and will receive specific training for the role they are undertaking.
- The option to choose telephone, digital, penpal or face to face BeAFriend roles.
- The service will provide regular contact in an agreed way to a befriendee, supported by the Befriending and Volunteering Manager and the wider CTEA team.
- All befrienders and befriendee’s will be “matched” through a holistic process before starting, and full risk assessments will be undertaken prior to starting to befriend.
- To update the client with any new services that CTEA are offering that may be of use to your client/ask if they would like to receive relevant information from CTEA about other services and support which may be beneficial.
- If your client requires advice, please refer them to Later Life Community Connect for further assistance, please do not try to offer advice yourself. Alternatively, you can ask them if they would like one of our Connect team to make contact.
- If you have any concerns about your client or haven’t managed to speak with them over a prolonged period of time, please make the Befriending and Volunteering Manager aware.
- As a volunteer you must respect any information concerning your client, staff, other volunteers and partner organisations and keep it confidential. This also applies to your own personal information.
- We will also provide a BeAFriend record sheet. This will need to be completed after each interaction and sent by email to the Befriending and Volunteering Manager on a weekly basis (or immediately if you have any concerns about the older person).
We encourage feedback from, and to, our volunteers, to ensure the role is suitable and going well.
The Befriending and Volunteering Manager will contact you to check that you are enjoying the role and that the client match is suitable.
What sort of person are you?
We need people who are sociable and happy to chat whilst also actively listening and flexible in their approach.
If you are trustworthy, respectful, and keen to offer at least 1-2 hours of your time per week to help isolated and less able people, we would love to hear from you.
BeAFriend volunteers must be aged 18+.
All CTEA volunteers will be DBS checked and will receive relevant safeguarding training.
We will also be offering the chance to become a Dementia Friend. As an organisation we are Dementia Friendly and encourage all our staff and volunteers to take part in a Dementia Friends Awareness session.