We offer a befriending service which aims to provide adult unpaid carers in Gateshead a break by matching a volunteer befriender with the cared for person (befriendee). The aim is to reduce the social isolation for both the carer and the cared for person. By having a volunteer befriender, the overall wellbeing will improve as the carer will have time for themselves and the cared for person will be able to spend time with someone.
The role of a volunteer befriender is not to provide personal care to the cared for person, e.g. administering medicines, wounds dressing, lifting and moving, clothes dressing, bathing, washing, and toileting.
The role of a volunteer befriender is;
- To meet with the befriendee on a regular at an agreed place and time. This may be the cared for person’s home.
- To develop positive relationships with that person. (training provided)
- To manage the befriending relationship and maintain appropriate boundaries (training provided)
- To maintain regular contact with the Volunteer Co-ordinator and report any issues or concerns. (training provided)
- To adhere to Gateshead Carers policies and procedures appropriate to the role.
- To attend any relevant training arranged by Gateshead Carers.
The befriending role will be flexible and will depend on the individual needs of the people we work with and the volunteer’s availability but will usually be a minimum of 2-3 hours per week for a maximum of 16 weeks for each cared for person, to avoid creating dependency on the Befriender. A befriender can be matched with more than one person during the same period depending on their availability.
Additionally, Gateshead Carers Association have a responsibility to:
- provide a full induction and relevant training.
- provide ongoing support from the Volunteer Coordinator.
- reimburse all reasonable out of pocket expenses.
- Friendly and caring
- General awareness of issues facing carers and the people they care for (awareness training provided)
- Good communication skills, including listening skills (training provided)
- Have a flexible approach to the role
- Be 18 years and above
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