Befrienders Make a real difference in the life of a young carer – become a befriender We are looking for positive volunteers who can provide regular support to young carers through befriending. These young people (between 8 – 24 years) care for family members who have a long term illness or disability. Young carers often describe their lives as isolated, with few or no friends, and high levels of anxiety and stress as they cope with their caring responsibilities. They urgently need friendly, patient and caring befrienders to provide relaxed and informal support. Who can become a befriender? There is no typical befriender, we are looking for volunteers from all walks of life – students, people working full time, part time, retired or not working - as long as you are over 18 and have some regular free time to commit. You will need to be a good listener, caring, understanding and have a level of perseverance and respect the confidential nature of being a befriender. What will it involve? We will carefully match befrienders with a young carer that they will meet with for 2 – 3 hours at a time, on a weekly or fortnightly basis, for about 6 months. This give the young carer someone who they can trust to listen and give them space to off load, chat through their experiences or just let off some steam through physical activity. This means that each meeting could be different, maybe you’ll go to a café, take part in a sports activity, visit a museum or just go for a walk. Teenage or young adult carers might need more practical support such as help with a CV or skills advice. Befriending meetings are likely to take place local to the young carer and volunteer preferences will be taken into consideration during the matching process. Our young carers all currently live within South Oxfordshire. While not essential, having a valid licence and access to a vehicle would be useful in rural areas. All volunteer befrienders are required to provide two references, have an enhanced DBS check and complete our training and induction. Benefits? Making a difference to the life of a young carer is incredibly rewarding! By making the most of your free time in this way, you will have the opportunity to use your experience and knowledge to benefit a vulnerable young person learn transferable skills for the workplace experience working with young people in a supportive role receive specialised training and support from our staff. Training and Support Be Free Young Carers staff will support you through the application and comprehensive training process. Once matched, befrienders are supported with monthly discussions with staff and frequent meetings to discuss progress. We also have regular peer support events, enabling befrienders to meet as a group, exchange ideas and share experiences and receive further training as required. To find out more about befriending, please see www.befreeyc.org.uk or contact Donna, Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator at [email protected] or on 01235 838 554.