What can you expect?
People volunteer to help with a variety of tasks, opting to help out on a regular long term basis or on a flexible or one off basis.
If you are interested in joining us, please click here to request an application pack.
You can also email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or ring us on 0114 2505293.
The pack includes an application form, an equal opportunities form and more information about our work. When we receive your completed application form, we send for references and on receipt of these, we make an appointment for you to come in for an informal chat. We then fill in the paperwork for a DBS (if the volunteering role requires this) and when this arrives back, hopefully clear, we can then arrange to see you for an induction.
The next step is to match our volunteers to the scheme they are interested in and we also pay close attention to travelling time to make the most of the volunteering experience.
We offer support and supervision, relevant training opportunities to develop your skills and interests and the reimbursement of travel expenses. All the necessary insurance and security measures are in place to make your volunteering safe.
Read below one volunteers experience
My volunteer journey - By Tom Lee
I have always been acutely aware about the issue of loneliness. One Christmas, I read an article about the issue and realised how many people throughout the UK are in fact lonely and in desperate need of companionship. It was at this point, I did what every thirty-something does when in need of some answers, I fired up my laptop, and looked to Google.
Following my internet search, I came across SCCCC immediately, and the next day I arranged to meet with somebody at the charity to obtain some more details about how I might be able to help. As I work full time, I was conscious that it might be difficult for somebody from the charity to meet with me on an evening - this was not the case - they couldn’t have been more helpful in working around my busy schedule. My first meeting was arranged on a Wednesday evening after work.
Now my navigational skills have never been my strong point. I had to stay a little later at work than I expected and en route to my first meeting, I took a wrong turn, and I was late. Great. Naturally I wanted to make a good impression on my first meeting with the charity, but ‘being late’ and ‘good impression’ are not synonymous in anyone’s book. Nevertheless, I sheepishly entered the room where the initial meeting was to be held to introduce myself…
My misplaced nerves were immediately allayed upon meeting a representative from the charity. The lady was incredibly welcoming and instantly made me feel at ease. We talked for a while getting to know each other, and a few days later, my formal induction was arranged.
My induction was very helpful. It was thorough, but not overbearing. It was clear that the charity cared. They explained about the fantastic work they do and provided me with lots of very useful advice, ensuring I felt confident before my first home visit.
Within a few days, I was ‘matched’ with a Service User and was provided with the relevant details prior to my first visit. Although I am often of an anxious disposition, I have to say that I felt no nerves whilst driving to the Service User’s home for the first time. I felt well prepared with the advice I had been given by the charity, and I reminded myself that the Service User, lets call her Alice, was probably more nervous than I.
Over the course of the next year or so, I visited Alice once a week for roughly an hour each visit. Our relationship blossomed as the months went on, with me getting as much from the visits as Alice did. Sadly, Alice became quite ill and so we agreed to stop my visits and I was matched with another Service User, let’s call him John.
John’s a real character. We get on like a house on fire. On my first visit, ready prepped with a variety of ice-breakers and back-up stories about my own life in the event John was not very forthcoming, John opened the door to me and declared “I’m 94 and I’m going for the 100 so I can get my letter from her Majesty!” I instantly liked John. What a life he’s had. He told me a funny story once. John wears something around his wrist which enables him to press a button if he needs help (usually an emergency), and a voice appears from a speaker in his living room asking him if everything is ok. The emergency services can be alerted if required. Now John is very hard of hearing and, by his own admission, a little clumsy. One Tuesday afternoon, shortly after his jam on toast, he sat down in his chair to watch the television and accidentally pressed the button on his wrist. The operator immediately came to life asking John what the emergency was and if he needed any help. John, being hard of hearing, didn’t hear the operator and calmly continued watching The Chase. Fifteen minutes later, John was in shock. He had an ambulance, a police car and the neighbours at his door attempting to get it. John realised what had happened, apologised sincerely to the crowd now congregated at his front door, and resumed his position in his chair just in time to catch the final chase.
As a volunteer for SCCCC, I feel valued. The staff at the charity are always grateful for the time I give, and they continuously provide support for me as and when I may need it. If I ever have any issues or concerns, they are always a phone call or an email away. I am sent birthday and Christmas cards, and am always updated with what’s going on in the SCCCC’s calendar. They have also allocated me a Supervisor who I can contact any time to discuss anything relating to my visits. I also have annual reviews with her so I can voice any concerns/suggestions I may have, and continuing advice and support may be given to me as required.
SCCCC are not a one-dimensional charity. In addition to the befriending service which I am a part of, they offer a range of other services that are available for anybody who wishes to utilise them. They also arrange various fundraising activities which anybody can get involved with - including social events where fellow volunteers and staff can get to know each other - sometimes involving Gin which can never be a bad thing!
I continue to enjoy my time volunteering, and it warms my cockles knowing that the very small amount of time I give once a week makes a real difference to somebody’s quality of life. I mean, what’s 1 hour a week? An episode of your most recent Netflix binge, two episodes of Coronation Street, or the time it takes to walk your dog. In the grand scheme of things, one hour a week is something many of us could give. And the positive impact that one hour a week could have on somebody’s life is immeasurable. Maybe one day, the roles will be reversed, and I’ll be elderly, lonely, with minimal contact with other people. If that happens, I’ll be glad there are charities such as SCCCC to give me a new lease of life in an otherwise lonely world.
Frequently asked questions
How much of a commitment is it?
Volunteering as a friendly visitor is a long term commitment. We would hope that when we match you up with an older person that you will enjoy your visits and become good friends. The person you visit will soon become used to your visits and will start to look forward to seeing you.
How regularly would I be expected to visit?
Ideally we’d like our service users to have an hour long visit each week or fortnight.
I work shifts, can I still volunteer?
Yes, you and your older person can arrange a visiting schedule between yourselves, although we would ensure to match you up with someone happy with a more varied visiting pattern. It may mean you visit on different days and at different times but variety is the spice of life!
I have children, can I take them along with me?
Each case is different and we would always consider the situation of each service user. Some older people love children and would benefit greatly from having them around. Other people may not be well enough or have situations unsuitable for visiting children. We can discuss this further when we meet up with you.
I’m at university in the local area currently and want to visit an older person whilst studying – is this possible?
Yes, of course. Some students continue to be in contact with their older person after they have left university and can no longer visit regularly. Instead, they may regularly telephone, write or visit as and when possible.
What happens if my situation changes?
We understand that life events happen to everyone. Whether it’s moving home, moving to another city or country, a new job or family commitments which mean you have less time to give, when the time comes, all you need to do is let us know.
Will I be expected to care for the service user, take them out, do their shopping etc?
No, we don’t ask our volunteers to do any of those tasks, you are simply there for a cuppa and a chat. To spend time with the older person, have a giggle, play a game, read, watch TV or put the world to rights.
What if I don’t get along with the person I’m matched up with?
We try our best to match our service users and volunteers up so that you will both get the best out of friendly visiting. If you find for any reason this is not working, you will have our full support and your allocated Good Neighbour Scheme Coordinator will discuss this with you.
How long does it take to set me up with a volunteer?
The length of time can vary. It can take a few weeks as we wait for the references requested in the application process to come through to us. We would then meet up you for a chat and to explain more about the role and our work as a charity. A DBS check (previously called a police check) would be completed at this stage and then we would then arrange your induction training. The induction training is to get you fully ready for your new experience. We will then start the matching process to link you up with a suitable service user, we’ll keep you updated on our progress.
What support is available whilst I am volunteering as a Friendly Visitor?
Once you are a fully inducted volunteer, you will be put in touch with your Good Neighbour Scheme Coordinator. This person will be your main point of contact with SCCCC and will be there to support you through your volunteer journey, touching base and meeting up at regular intervals to see how you are getting on. They will help however possible with any issues or questions you may have.
What steps are taken to ensure my safety in my volunteer role?
For each visiting case, one of the SCCCC team will go out to meet the service user and do a risk assessment of their situation and environment. This is not only to help us to ensure the case is suitable and safe for one of our volunteers but it also gives us an opportunity to support the service user. If the person needs any extra support, we can signpost them to the relevant organisations and we can also refer older people to the fire service for support if they don’t have working smoke alarms. We have a lone working policy with a checking in and out system, to ensure that our volunteers are supported when out and about doing their friendly visits and any concerns at all about the case or the service user can be discussed directly with the Good Neighbour Scheme Coordinators who will do all they can to help.
What else will be on offer to me as a Friendly Visitor ?
We are always thinking of ways to meet with, celebrate and support our volunteers. We offer training where possible, an example of this is the recent Dementia training. We also arrange social events where you can come along and meet the Good Neighbour Coordinators and other friendly visitors whilst having a cuppa and a bit of cake or a lovely stroll. We will always look to see what other great information and advice we can find which may benefit your volunteering whilst always being here to listen to your views and good ideas too.
Will I be reimbursed for any costs?
Yes, as an SCCCC Good Neighbour Scheme volunteer, you are able to submit expense claims for your travel costs and this will be paid back to you.
If you have any further questions please contact: Lynn Smith at Volunteers@scccc.co.uk