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Age UK policies you need to be aware of

An older man smiling.

As a Call in Time volunteer, you need to be familiar with Age UK's policies on safety and security, not exchanging gifts, and safeguarding. We've summarised the key things you need to know below:

Safety and security

As a telephone befriending service, the safety of everyone involved is our number one priority.

Through your volunteering with us, you may be supporting vulnerable people. To make the service safe for everyone, we insist that you do not arrange to visit your telephone friend or exchange personal contact details with them. With this in mind, we will also match you with someone who lives at least 50 miles away from you.

You can discuss the area in which you live, but please do not give out your address. You cannot contact your telephone friend through any method of communication other than the telephone calls made through Age UK. This includes social media.

Don’t give or accept gifts from your telephone friend or their friends and family.

Although gifts can be a lovely gesture, they can create unintended outcomes. A gift can build an expectation of having to reciprocate the gesture, which can create problems when one party is financially unable to do so. This can also create an expectation that you will be continually providing gifts throughout the telephone friendship.

However, you are more than welcome to send photos, cards, letters or a picture of yourself, so your telephone friend can put a face to a name. We find that gestures like this are much more appreciated than a gift of monetary value.

All correspondence must be sent to Age UK to forward on to your telephone friend, and should not contain any contact details such as addresses, email addresses or telephone numbers.

All our post is sent second class. Please bear this in mind regarding timescales. You are more than welcome to include a first class stamp if you would like it to reach your telephone friend quicker.

If you wish to send correspondence to your telephone friend:

  • Please leave the envelope of the card unsealed, we need to be able to check that there are no contact details.
  • Add a note with the name of your telephone friend and your full name.
  • Pop your card into a bigger envelope, and sent it to our Freepost address.

If your telephone friend asks to send you a gift or for your contact details then it is OK to remind them that you cannot do this in your volunteer role.

Safeguarding

For Age UK Safeguarding describes everything we do to protect children and adults who need care and support from abuse.

If you are told or suspect, that your telephone friend or a child they are in contact with is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse please do not panic.

  • Listen calmly to any concerns
  • Record your observations and/or the actual words spoken
  • Contact Call in Time.