20 Jul Project officer – Volunteers Supporting Families Brent
Volunteering Matters is the UK’s volunteering and learning organisation. Since 1962
Volunteering Matters have been creating opportunities for people to volunteer and to improve the lives of others in their communities. Amongst its many volunteer projects, Volunteering Matters runs projects which support children in care, ex-offenders leaving custody, people with learning disabilities and adults with mental health issues.
What is Volunteering Matters Volunteers supporting Families project?
Volunteering Matters’ Volunteers supporting Families project is a development of its groundbreaking Volunteers in Child Protection project (ViCP), initially set up in response to the death of Victoria Climbié and the Lord Laming enquiry that followed, and its sister project, Parent Mentoring. The project offers a pioneering approach, recruiting volunteers from the local community to provide support to families whose children are at risk or have a safeguarding plan.
The VsF aspect of the project matches trained and screened volunteers with families who have at least one child on a Child Protection Plan or who have additional or complex needs. Volunteers visit the family in the family home on a regular basis – sometimes up to three times a week – offering practical parenting help and encouragement, and empowering them to make changes that will improve family life and keep their children happy, healthy and safe.
How do Volunteering Matters VsF volunteers help?
VsF volunteers provide a listening ear and a helping hand to families who need support. This could involve helping with practical tasks, supporting the family to access local services or being an understanding listener for a stressed parent. As each family is different, each VsF volunteer will carry out activities with the family they are matched with according to their specific needs. Volunteer activities will be agreed in advance by Volunteering Matters and other relevant professionals. The role of the volunteer will complement the activities of Social Care teams and other professionals.
How will Volunteering Matters VsF support volunteers?
Volunteers attend an initial interview with their local Volunteering Matters Project Manager. After this, volunteers receive two and a half days of training, which includes contributions by
the local Social Care team. Volunteers receive ongoing training in their role, including regular support groups and supervisions. All reasonable out-of-pocket expenses are reimbursed. Typically, volunteers will:
Visit the family regularly at set times
Build a trusting relationship based on mutual respect
Offer appropriate support to help improve parenting skills
Carry out appropriate practical tasks to assist the family
Provide a sound role model to children and parents
Help the family access available community resources (for example, health information, education providers, Citizens Advice Bureau)
Share issues and concerns with Social Care teams or other relevant professionals with the consent of the parents wherever possible and appropriate
Keep written records and submit them regularly to the Volunteering Matters Project
Who can be a Volunteering Matters VsF Volunteer?
VsF volunteering is a challenge and a VsF volunteer is a very special person. Volunteering
Matters are looking for volunteers who have the following key attributes: The motivation to help and support a vulnerable family
An understanding of the needs of the families we support
A positive and friendly attitude and a willingness to listen and be patient
The ability to be a reliable, consistent and positive presence in a family’s life.
What do we ask from Volunteering Matters VsF volunteers?
The families we support need stability and consistency so we ask VsF volunteers to commit to the project for a minimum of six months. Volunteers need to be able to support a family for
2 – 6 hours a week once they are matched. Volunteers will need to provide two references and undergo an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and Local Authority
checks as part of the application process. The Volunteering Matters Project Manager will discuss this further with you.
Would you like to be a Volunteering Matters VsF volunteer?
If you want to find out more about Volunteering Matters Volunteers supporting Families project in Brent, or if you think you have the qualities we are looking for in a volunteer, then please contact the Volunteers supporting Families Project Officer, Hannah Scotten