Community Companion Volunteer
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do I have to volunteer for?
- We ask for a minimum of 12 months, however some support is between 3 to 12 months, so the period could be shorter
- Training lasts for 12 months, if you wish to continue longer than 12 months, let us know
How much time do I have to commit to each week?
- You must be able to commit to 1 hour per week
- This can be a telephone call initially or a face-to-face meeting in the client’s home or local community
- After the first 3 to 4 weeks, it would be face-to-face meetings
Can I offer more of my time?
- Some volunteers enjoy their befriending so much that they often commit to additional hours, this is each individual’s preference
What is expected of my volunteer role?
- To spend quality time building relationships with your friend, to reduce their social isolation, loneliness and anxiety/ depression
- You will support your friend over the telephone initially and then meet face-to-face
- Support can be given to attend groups/ activities in their local community, helping your friend build their confidence and build new friendships
- The first 3 to 4 sessions can be phone calls or you can agree to meet in their home, for 1 hour per week, or 2 hours per fortnight
- This will lead to attending local community groups/ activities to reduce their social isolation and loneliness, or encouraging going for walks etc. to help their mental wellbeing
Where will my interview take place?
- This will be an informal telephone call or face to face at the Mind office in Bradford
What training and support will I get?
- Each volunteer will be given training prior to the befriending starting, there will be on-going support and advice from the Volunteer team at Mind in Bradford and the other volunteers
- There is some online training to complete
- A volunteer induction to attend on Zoom or face-to-face at the Mind in Bradford office – this lasts up to 2 hours
Will I get paid expenses?
- Yes, we will reimburse certain out of pocket expenses incurred in connection with your volunteering for us
Will there be a probationary period?
- Yes, there will be a 3-month probationary period, this enables the client, volunteer and Mind to ensure the volunteering experience is benefitting all involved
What if I do not connect with the person I befriend or we have nothing in common?
- Sometimes the matching process is not exact, no matter how many interests and similarities we have, some people just don’t connect. Please do not be concerned if this happens. We ask that you call or meet 2 to 3 times and then if you still do not connect, contact the Volunteering team at Mind in Bradford. We can then look to discuss this and re-match you.
How do I introduce myself to the client?
- The Volunteer team at Mind in Bradford will contact both parties, to agree a match and then advise the day and time the volunteer will call the client
- The team will send out a Befriending Guidance document and information on introductions at the time of matching
- If the first contact is face-to-face at the client’s home the Volunteer team will meet you for your first meeting and will do introductions
- If the first meeting is in the community, follow the guidance sent over at the time of matching
- The client will have been given some basic information about you. Similarly, you will receive basic information about them prior to the introduction.
What happens if I can’t make a visit? (Due to holidays, social/family commitments or sickness)
- Please let the Volunteer team at Mind in Bradford know 2 weeks in advance for holidays, also let your match know
- For sickness, please let the Volunteer team know as soon as possible so we can inform your friend or try to cover the call/ visit
What do I do if my client doesn’t answer the door/ call?
- If face-to-face visits:
- check through windows, letter box to see if you can see anyone at home, is there post on the floor, has the milk been taken in?
- Are there neighbours you can ask if they have seen anyone recently?
- These could be signs something is wrong, call the Volunteer team at Mind in Bradford. They can then deal with the situation and call the clients next of kin
- If your friend has collapsed or you can see them but they are unresponsive please dial 999 before letting the Volunteer team know.
- If telephone befriending, there are a few different scenarios:
- If they live alone try at 3 different times the same day, if no answer contact the Volunteer team and we will contact their next of kin to ensure they are safe and update the volunteer
- If they live in supported accommodation, the housing officer completes daily check-ins and so we know they are safe. Try a couple of times on the agreed day, then again, the next day, if no answer then contact the Volunteer team
- If they have carers who go in to help, this will be once, twice or three times a day, so we know if there is anything wrong, this will be dealt with quickly and the individual is safe. Follow the same procedure as above for the supported accommodation
- If you cannot contact Donna on 07734 407210, contact:
- Jas Kaur – Project Administrator – 07999 029938
- Aisling Gildea – Project Administrator – 07511 226599
- Mind in Bradford office on 01274 730815, expressing you have concerns for the welfare of your befriendee (through Community Companions). This will be passed to a staff member to deal with urgently
What happens if the client tells me they are ill, or there is some kind of emergency whilst I am calling/ visiting?
- If the client tells you they are ill, then please contact the Volunteer team at Mind in Bradford – who will take a message and pass this on to the next of kin
- If the client suffers anything serious such as heart attack or a stroke, please dial 999 immediately. Then contact the Volunteer team to let them know, they can inform next of kin as above
What should I do if the client I visit starts to talk about something I am uncomfortable with, or I am concerned about their safety/wellbeing?
- A befriending relationship should be one which has clear boundaries for you both
- Generally, you can expect to discuss hobbies, interests and current topics in the media perhaps, but if you are uncomfortable with what is being said, then you should indicate your discomfort to the person you befriend and refer to the guidance materials on how to deal with inappropriate conversations
Am I allowed to exchange gifts and presents with the client?
- No, within the boundaries of your volunteer role you are asked not to accept or agree to accept any gifts offered by members, their family or relatives. The clients are asked to adhere to the same boundaries
- However, to exchange cards and written materials (including photographs, songs, poems etc.) would be fine
- Small gifts of £5 like biscuits/ chocolates are also fine if there is a celebration or occasion
- Never buy alcohol, cigarettes, scratch cards, vouchers etc.
What happens if the client I visit requires another service or more support?
- If you feel that the client, you call/ visit needs more befriending support or perhaps additional wellbeing help because their needs have changed or because they are dealing with major life changes then please refer this to the Volunteer team at Mind in Bradford
What happens if I need to stop being a companion?
- We ask all volunteers to consider this activity carefully before applying to become a volunteer. Once you have applied, then this commitment is up to 12 months and you would be expected to fulfil your role. However, we appreciate that emergency situations do arise and it is very important that the ending of the service is handled properly
- Due to the nature of this activity, we ask that you give as much notice as possible to ensure the client is re-matched and supported by contacting the Volunteer team at Mind in Bradford.