Becoming a befriender
All our befrienders are un-paid volunteers. Applicants will be invited to an informal interview and will be asked to provide the names of two referees who are not related to them. They will also need to agree to a DBS check. Prior to volunteering as a befriender, relevant induction training must also be completed.
Induction training for new volunteers takes place regularly depending on need. The group training sessions will consist of two full days training and four two-hour workshops. These are usually spread over six weeks. Workshops are facilitated by project staff and other professionals. Areas explored include: listening skills, confidentiality, boundaries, and raising awareness of mental health issues. Various methods of training are used in a way which most volunteers find both enjoyable and informative.
Once volunteers have completed their training, they will be sensitively matched to an applicant. People are usually matched on a same gender basis. However, in line with the Mind Equal Opportunities Policy, this can be negotiable. At the initial meeting, ground rules, boundaries, confidentiality, and the time the volunteer can realistically offer will be discussed between the parties and the scheme coordinator. Befrienders usually support their befriendees for a minimum of one hour per week, sometimes more, but this varies with individual need and the volunteers own time commitments.
Support and Supervision
One-to-one support and supervision is offered to all active befrienders; however, most volunteers choose to meet as a group. We hold peer group meetings on a quarterly basis where volunteers can confidentially explore issues and share their enjoyment of befriending with their peers. The peer group meetings are managed by project staff. Supervision of volunteers is seen as a valuable part of the befriending process.
Approximately six to eight meetings after the introduction, the scheme coordinator will meet both parties to discuss how things are going. If everyone is happy with the present situation the befriending relationship will continue. If not we will try to make the necessary adjustments. Reviews will then take place at regular intervals (usually every three to six months).
Our service is time limited and we usually engage with the service user for approximately six to nine months, although this can vary according to individual need.
Ydych chi’n siarad Cymraeg?
We are sometimes asked to offer our services through the medium of Welsh and have been able to match befrienders and befriendees who have expressed this preference. We therefore welcome any enquiries from would-be volunteers who wish to use their native tongue.
We also welcome prospective applicants for our service and volunteers applications from the many and varied ethnic minority groups within Carmarthenshire. In addition, we want to be able to offer our services throughout the more rural parts of the county and will be advertising by various means to recruit more volunteers. If you happen to live in these areas and have a few hours to spare hours each week, we would love to hear from you!