We are seeking volunteers to help improve the quality of life for older people who live in the
Reading area by providing friendship and support as part of the Age UK Reading Befriending Scheme. Many older people experience chronic loneliness in later life and, as a result, experience a decline in wellbeing and associated health impacts. Age UK’s Befriending service is there to offer human contact, warmth, and access to a support network for these people.
Volunteer Telephone Befrienders and also Visiting Befrienders are sought to join our team of
Telephone Befrienders call one or more older people once a week on a regular basis for a chat,
checking in on how they are doing and reporting back any concerns. Each call usually takes about 20 to 30 minutes.
Visiting Befrienders visit an older person once a week or fortnight at the older person’s home for a
regular chat. Visits usually take about an hour. Often visiting Befrienders start off with telephone
calls before visits are arranged.
Key Responsibilities for either type of befriending:
1.Undergo an initial interview and checks to obtain DBS clearance then complete the induction
2. Telephone or visit the clients on a regular basis that has been mutually agreed
3. Adhere to the policies and procedures of Age UK Reading
4. Maintain appropriate boundaries of confidentiality with clients, colleagues and volunteers
5. Complete client telephone or visit forms after each contact and forward to the co-ordinator
6. Attend training courses and one to one meetings as necessary
7. Pass any concerns relating to clients to the co-ordinator as soon as they become apparent.
1. Make a regular commitment to the befriending service
2. Willingness to undertake further training and supervision if required
3. Willingness to take part in twice yearly one to one session with the co-ordinator
4. Always remember that the main reason for visiting is to provide companionship and to be a
“listening ear”. If the client needs practical help then add this fact to the client visit form.
Training and support:
In addition to safeguarding training other opportunities will be available from time to time. Support
is available from the befriending co-ordinator.
A warm and caring person who has empathy with the elderly and can chat on a diversity of topics.
Essential Knowledge and skills:
1. An understanding and recognition of abuse and the forms it may take
2. An understanding of the need for client confidentiality
3. An understanding of the need to maintain safe working boundaries when dealing with clients
Desirable Knowledge and skills:
1. Warmth, understanding and sensitivity
2. The ability to be supportive and non-judgemental regardless of age, race, sexuality, religion or
3. Good listening skills
You will be asked to undertake a DBS check up to barring list level under the adult workforce.
Other opportunities with Age UK Reading
Read more about Age UK Reading