Telephone Befriender Volunteer
Published on 27 May 2020 06:05 PM
Telephone Befriending with Age UK North Tyneside
At Age UK North Tyneside, older people are at the heart of everything we do.
Across our North Tyneside community, we are all following Government advice around COVID-19 and how to stay safe. Many of our older neighbours, friends and community members who are normally out and about are now isolated at home shielding etc.
We want to ensure their continued safety and good mental and physical wellbeing during these difficult times.
Our Telephone Befriending Service is there to provide older, isolated people with a friendly chat over the phone. We provide a lifeline to the outside world because we make time for conversation and friendship. If carers need a break from looking after a family member, we can support them too.
Befriending support can:
- Lower rates of depression
- Improve self-esteem and confidence
- Improve social skills
- Reduce vulnerability and risk of abuse
- Reduce social isolation
- Build sense of purpose
- Improve self-management
- Reduce in use of emergency services
Telephone Befriending Volunteers also learn new skills, gain experience, make new friends and help to positively influence the lives of others. Volunteers are a hugely valued part of our team, we couldn’t deliver these services without them.
What is Befriending?
Befriending is a 1:1 relationship between a Volunteer and a customer which is initiated, supported and monitored by Age UK North Tyneside. Volunteers are known as “befrienders” customers are “befriendees”.
As a befriender, you will make two 15 minute telephone calls a week to your befriendee.
It can be hard to communicate over the phone without the social cues of body language or practical distractions – this is why just 15 minutes is the recommended time given by National Befriending Networks.
You will make your phone calls at a time and day agreed with Age UK North Tyneside and your befriendee.
All calls sit within our Telephone Befriending Service operating hours of 10am – 3pm Monday to Friday.
We will ensure that your befriendee has written the agreed, specific set times and days down when you make your first call.
Set times and days are essential. If your befriendee is unsure about when you are calling them they may sit waiting for extended periods, becoming anxious and upset. It’s very important to get this right at the very start of the relationship.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who will I be matched with?
You'll be matched with a befriendee aged over 50 who would benefit from a telephone friendship. Loneliness can affect people in very different ways and it's really important to remember that even if your befriendee has family and friends, they may still have times when they may feel lonely or are in need of friendship. You’re offering older people a chance to share their stories, make a new friend and connect with someone outside their usual social circle.
What if my befriendee needs some assistance?
You can give your befriendee our number 0191 2808484. We’re able to help older people access advice, support and other local services.
If you had any concerns of immediate risk to your befriendee’s wellbeing and safety, you would call us 0191 2808484.
What if I’m unable to make my call?
If you can't make your call then please let us know. We can try and arrange for you to make the call at another time that week. If you don't let us know, then your befriendee will be left waiting for your call.
Get in touch with us if you’d like to change two lives and volunteer as a telephone befriender.
More about volunteering with Age UK North Tyneside
More on Coronavirus
- NHS 111 online - Check if you have coronavirus symptoms
- Gov.UK - Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do
- Get support as an extremely vulnerable person
- Citizens Advice - Coronavirus - what it means for you
- Age UK North Tyneside Information and Advice
- Covid 19 - How to help safely (Gov.UK)
- Covid 19 Myth busters (World Health Organisation)
- Covid 19- Information for the bereaved from UK Government
- Gov.UK - Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can't do
- Gov.UK - Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can't do after 4 July
- Wellbeing and mental health during Covid-19