What is a befriender?
A volunteer befriender will regularly visit or call someone who is deafblind, or meet them at another mutually convenient location to engage in or support them in social, leisure and practical activities as appropriate, to build and maintain social interaction and independence. Thus, breaking isolation and improving their quality of life.
- Engage in conversation or other activities as appropriate to build and maintain friendship e.g. chat and a cup of tea or going for local walks
- Provide information about local leisure opportunities and transport options
- Accompany the person to the first few meetings of one or more social or leisure groups or activities in the local community, e.g. the W.I., swimming pool, University of the 3rd Age, community walking groups, a local deafblind group or activity
- Establishing and building a befriending relationship and enabling our member to socialise and link to social events within the community
- Visiting or calling an identified person at a mutually convenient time and place to engage in activities as described above and appropriate to normal companionship (Deafblind UK will work to match you with an individual with similar interests who would benefit from your life experiences)
- Providing advice and guidance to the member at a level appropriate within a mutual companionship
- Supervising the member as required in specific tasks ie gardening
- Taking charge of communication and guiding support as needed with the member to enable local walks, or enable them to access activities at their chosen meeting location
- Providing regular updates of your volunteering activity to your Deafblind UK named contact
How much commitment do I need to give?
This role requires a regular commitment of time to regularly visit or call someone, usually weekly and at a mutually convenient time and place.
Am I suitable?
This role is suitable for people who are:
- Willing to share their own personal interests with someone who has similar interests
- Willing to engage in conversations with our members
- Willing to learn communication and guiding techniques to meet the needs of our members with combined sight and hearing loss (full training will be provided)
- You must be over 18 to take up this role
How will I benefit?
- This is an opportunity to meet like-minded people in your community
- You will be part of a friendly, supportive and dedicated team
- You will know you will be making a difference to real people’s lives
- New communications skills
- Establishing positive employability skills to help you in your career path
What support will I get?
We ensure all volunteers who join our team are well equipped to undertake any tasks and will provide training and supervision throughout your journey with us. Any specific training will be outlined at the induction stage and then discussed at your reviews with your Deafblind UK named contact.
This role is purely voluntary, and this arrangement is not legally binding or an employment contract.
“I wanted to get involved in some volunteering but my work hours can be a bit chaotic and I’ve got a young family. Befriending on the phone was a good practical solution. It’s a great thing to do, you get to know someone very well and it’s so much fun!” Click here to read tele-befriender, Matthew’s story.