Volunteer befrienders sought for Waltham Forest

25th February 2019

Befriending is a one-to-one relationship that is based on providing friendship and emotional support. Outward is working in co-operation with University College London to carry out a study to find out if befriending can help to improve wellbeing and social participation in people who have a learning disability (also known as intellectual disability).

People with a learning disability often experience loneliness and isolation because they have smaller social networks and lower levels of social support. They may be unable to access the community by themselves and may rely on carers (family or paid) for support, resulting in lower levels of social participation. All this may decrease self-esteem and increase their vulnerability to depression. Befriending may be helpful for people with learning disabilities as it may provide social support and help them to access activities in the community, thereby reducing feelings of loneliness and depression.

We are looking for volunteers over the age of 18 who are able to commit one to two hours per week to befriend individuals with learning disabilities, to provide friendship and companionship. We are asking for a commitment of six months and the project will be based in Waltham Forest. Befriending may be out in the community or in an individual's home. Befriending hours can be flexible to cater for both the volunteer and the person receiving the service, including daytime, evening or weekend hours.

Volunteers are offered substantial training prior to matching as well as regular supervision, reimbursements of travel expenses and references.

As part of our recruitment process, we will ask for an application form with two references (personal or professional). Following this, we request that you complete a DBS check. You will then be supervised by the Volunteer Manager who will support you through your matching.

Please contact Sally Finning, Volunteer Manager, T: 07584 311547, E: sfinning@outward.org.uk for further information.