Your role as the Telephone Befriender is to engage in conversation with a client over the phone, building a rapport and engaging with them on a weekly basis (note: some befriending matches require more than one call per week). Most of the referrals come from our partners and other agencies but some are self-referrals. All referrals are due to the client being lonely and feeling isolated. It should be noted, that does not necessarily mean they are an older person living on their own. Some referrals are for younger adults who may live in a ‘busy’ household.
As a Befriender your co-ordinator will match you to a suitable client. This will be done after finding out more about both yourself and the client to see if there are similarities in personality, hobbies etc. It will not be done purely on age – often the perfect match is with different generations.
Your role will be to chat to the client, using your own phone from your own home. You will be required to actively engage and encourage conversation – sometimes this needs to be led by you, the volunteer, as there could be barriers with the clients such as: confidence, disability, speech issues etc. The Telephone Befriender will not be expected to offer advice or to ‘counsel’ the client – you are simply someone to have a chat to and be a listening ear – something for the client to look forward to each week. Befrienders should give minimal personal details about themselves and should never ‘off-load’ their own issues to a client. Your coordinator will always be there to deal with any concerns you have about any of your matches.
VASA induction training will be given and guidelines issued around safety protocols for volunteers and clients. Workshops will be available from time to time to cover areas of interest around Befriending.
A PVG check will be carried out prior to commencement as a befriender.
It should be noted that this role does not include any face-to-face befriending and no volunteer should arrange to meet with a client. Post COVID, if a one-to-one, face-to-face service was developed, appropriate training would be given then if deemed applicable.
DUTIES: The role of the Telephone Befriender will be as follows:
• To offer friendship and encouragement, via a telephone call, to a client who is isolated and lonely.
• To provide a listening ear.
• To facilitate conversation and engage with clients.
• To build up a relationship with the befriendee, giving them something to look forward to on a weekly basis.
• To commit to a minimum of 20min per week to the service.
Voluntary Action South Ayrshire (VASA) is the local Third Sector Interface. It is recognised by Scottish Government and South Ayrshire Council as fulfilling a key role in ensuring the continued development of a robust Third Sector in South Ayrshire. As VASA has been created from an amalgamation of Volunteer Centre South Ayrshire (VCSA) and Council for Voluntary Organisations in Kyle and Carrick (CVOKC) it is founded on a wealth of experience gained during decades of work with Third Sector organisations, agencies and groups operating in South Ayrshire.
Having a criminal conviction will NOT necessarily prevent you from volunteering for VASA. If you have a criminal conviction and would like to discuss it, you can do this in confidence prior to the application.
Experience required: • Good communication skills, especially telephone conversations • A friendly approachable nature • Honest and Trustworthy • Have a passion for improving the lives of people who are lonely • Confidentiality
Travel details: Expenses will be reimbursed at 50p per call. Guidance on hiding personal phone numbers will be given. Travel expenses to and from home to VASA offices for updating PVG’s and other admin procedures will be paid at .45p per mile or cost of a bus fare.
Minimum age: 18
Expenses paid: Yes
Taster details: All volunteers are required to have a full day’s induction/training prior to starting their befriending role, covering topics like professional boundaries, communication skills, adhering to policy and procedure etc.
This opportunity is also advertised across South Ayrshire.