We receive referrals from numerous health and social care organisations and authorities who work with older people. Some referrals also come from family members or the individual themselves.
Limited or no family or friends to visit regularly.
Spend long periods of time alone.
Assessment against Time to Talk Befriending criteria *.
*If the person being referred meets our criteria * we will visit the individual at home to assess their interests, personality and strengths. Based on what the individual tells us they value in a person, we will find them a suitable volunteer befriender and help them gain access to additional activities and services through our links with local agencies, groups, activity providers, events, Churches and local authorities.
*If the person being referred does not meet our criteria * we will try to identify alternative support more suited to their individual needs i.e. activities, care provision, advocacy etc.
Upon receipt of a referral we undertake the process outlined below. Please note that all our Volunteers are interviewed; references are obtained and they are police checked.
Timeframes and Process
- Referral Form – We receive basic details about the person who has been referred to our service using our standard referral form.
- Initial Assessment – The Referrals and Volunteer’s coordinator will initially telephone the person being referred. The aim of the conversation is to assess whether he/she fits within the scheme’s criteria and would like to become a scheme member. (If they do not fit our criteria, every effort is made to refer them to other relevant agencies). This is usually undertaken within a 2-3 week timeframe.
- Referrer Updated – we will inform the referrer of the outcome of the initial assessment.
- Home Visit Assessment – The Scheme coordinator will visit the scheme member to introduce themselves and to get to know them so that we can find a good match with a volunteer befriender. Please note that the time-frames for undertaking the matching process will differ for each person because everyone has different needs.
- Volunteer Assigned – We endeavour to find a suitable volunteer who would work well with our scheme member. We consider personality, experience, interests, availability and geography.
- Introductory Visit – The coordinator will introduce the volunteer to an assigned scheme member. This usually takes place in the scheme members home. Assuming this meeting goes well; the scheme member and volunteer will then agree to regular ongoing visits. Other forms of communication i.e. telephone calls will also be discussed at this stage.
- Regular Visits Begin – Provided the above proceeds satisfactorily, visits will continue. Subject to the availability of the volunteer visits will take place once a week or fortnightly for approximately an hour. Visits take the form of informal conversations over a cup of tea or coffee. The aim is to provide crucial time to talk and listen to the person the volunteer is befriending. The goal is to reduce isolation by developing a lasting and trustworthy relationship between scheme member and volunteer.
- Referrer Updated – we will also update the referrer at this point of the process so that they are aware that a befriender has been located.
- Reviews – Regular reviews are carried out to check the progress of the befriending match and to provide support when and where needed. These are undertaken three months after the match has been made and yearly thereafter.
Although befriending alone can make a life changing difference in an older person’s life, we also advocate the need to help people build stronger support networks and promote social inclusion. During the assessment process outlined below our brilliant team take the time to identify everyone’s needs and interests so that we can make additional referrals and offer signposting services to local events, lunch clubs, activities, social groups, churches (etc) that might be of interest. In addition, we actively encourage peer to peer support among our scheme member network.