Medway Voluntary Action (MVA)
Medway Voluntary Action (MVA) are working in partnership with Carers FIRST (CF), wHoo Cares and other local voluntary & community sector (VCS) and statutory organisations to deliver and co-ordinate befriending support in Medway.
Befriending can be defined as: an emotional, supportive, mutual relationship in which companionship is provided on a regular basis by a volunteer. Befriending can take place face to face, over the phone or in a group setting.
Befriending is not: the carrying out of any personal care, housework, or other domestic tasks. Neither is it the provision of social care, health support or any caring responsibilities.
• Progression – Individuals accessing support will be encouraged and supported to nurture their own social connections within their local community, empowering them to move on and even help befriend other local people.
• Partnership Working –The programme connects and communicates with statutory, community and voluntary Partners and commissioned frontline staff (e.g. Wellbeing Navigators) to increase effectiveness and efficiencies in order to achieve shared outcomes.
• Capitalise on Existing Assets – Operating on a principle of accessing existing community and commissioned assets in Medway where possible.
There are five core elements to the project:
1. A befriending Contact point to support referral and evaluation processing (Covering the whole of Medway)
2. Telephone Befriending (Covering the whole of Medway)
3. 121 Befriending Support (Covering the whole of Medway)
4. Group Befriending (Linking to the wealth of existing community activities across Medway). This also now includes Park Meets which are held in green spaces, parks and cafes across Medway several times a week.
5. Digital befriending- through Zoom meetings held twice every week, and also through our WhatsApp Walking and Social Group.
Some important things you should know before making a referral to us:
• The key criteria for being eligible for befriending support is that the person being referred is living in isolated circumstances or has little social contact. Other eligibility criteria applies to specific befriending support provided by MVA and its partners, these are:
o For individuals aged 18 years and over
o Priority given to those with a long term illness or who are Disabled
o Targeted at those with limited/ no family or friends who visit them and/or who spend long periods of time alone.
o Each referral will be considered on an individual basis and those not appropriate will be signposted to VCS & Wellbeing Navigators
o Not suitable for complex cases e.g. Advanced Dementia, Complex Mental Health needs
o Aim is to be a short term intervention that is person centred so no defined time limit set however the ultimate aim is to discharge individual from services once connected within community.
• All referrals for befriending support will be reviewed by MVA, who will arrange or signpost to appropriate befriending support. If it is not possible or suitable to arrange befriending support to an individual, MVA will contact the person who made the referral to explain any decisions made and suggest alternative solutions where possible.
• If you know someone who might benefit from the befriending support we offer, then this form can be completed by any of the following:
o A relative, friend, health & social care or any other support worker – in this situation, the person being referred must be aware of, and have agreed, to the referral; or
o An individual wishing to refer themselves to the befriending scheme
Should you require further information or help completing the referral or wish to discuss a case before referring please contact our Befriending Programme Officer on 01634 564939 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We welcome any comments, observations or suggestions; please email these to the email above.
Information for volunteers
Our volunteer befrienders come in many shapes and sizes; we welcome people across all communities and with many diverse interests. We work with many isolated and lonely people across Medway of all age groups, and with many different interests. We work to try to help improve their lives by nurturing their social connections within the local community.
Our volunteers may be telephone befrienders, face to face befrienders, garden befrienders, digital champions and/or drivers.