MA Centre UK
The MACCS Befriending Companions is a free service, which offers a listening ear and a friendly voice for individuals feeling lonely and isolated. Our volunteer Befrienders offer meaningful, supportive, and compassionate connections to those who would otherwise be socially isolated due to ill health, disability, old age, or social disadvantage and require companionship. Through weekly friendly telephone conversations, Befrienders help Befriendees (service users) to overcome feelings of loneliness, isolation, lack of social contact, or anxiety and if necessary to assist them to seek access to services or community resources beyond our organisation. We are an inclusive organisation and are open to calls from adults over 18 years old. We do not, however, provide medical or professional counselling advice or support and therefore are unable to meet the needs of individuals with complex or acute mental health issues, personality disorder, suicidal ideation, drug or alcohol dependencies, or dementia. This is an opportunity for us to help and service those in our community feeling lonely and isolated from their usual connections and support groups. Our contact number is 0800 009 6353 and we are open daily between 2.00-6.00pm.
Information for volunteers
MACCS Befriending Companions is an outreach provision, which offers a listening ear and friendly voice during these challenging times. This provision is run by volunteers with the aim of providing support and encouragement to help improve health and wellness where needed. A Befriender will provide friendly chats via the phone, to enable anyone seeking our help to feel connected and emotionally supported. Please Note: The Befriending Support is not a counselling service and cannot provide medical advice.
This is an opportunity for us to help and service those in our community feeling lonely and isolated from their usual connections and support groups.
Descriptions of MACCS Befriending Companions Roles
1: Initial Call Response (ICR) Volunteer
The initial point of contact for the Befriending relationship. An essential role which helps reassure and alleviate the distress of the caller, You will use a therapeutic ear to pick up both spoken and unspoken cues of distress. Each initial call lasts around 25 minutes, during which time you will carry out a basic screening procedure in a non-invasive way. Through compassionate questioning, you will ascertain the level of need and where more specialist support is required, you will signpost the caller to the appropriate national service. If the caller’s needs do meet our description of service, you will make a referral within our network. You will need to make accurate notes of the caller’s response to questions and communicate any concerns to the appropriate person within our organisation. You will not provide counselling or medical advice.
Commitment: Minimum one hour per week. Training will be provided. This role requires some experience of Mental Health or Medical experience.
2: Befriending Volunteer or Befriender
Providing emotional support for a befriendee. This position involves listening and offering support and encouragement to callers from diverse age groups, backgrounds and communities who have encountered difficulties of various kinds. As part of the befriending role, you will support and develop the confidence of your befriendee. Befriending is not counselling and you are not to go beyond the defined role. It is a chance to use your friendship skills in a different and worthwhile way, while maintaining appropriate boundaries to protect both you and your befriendee.
Commitment: One hour per week for a duration of 4 - 12 months depending on the requirements of your befriendee.
3: Befriending Support Supervision Volunteer (SSV)
Providing support and supervision to befrienders. SSV is a valuable role that enables befrienders to reflect on their role positively and stay grounded. Supervisors must provide clear guidance when issues or concerns arise.
Commitment: At least once a fortnight in 1:1 sessions or groups of four, The timing and duration of each session is determined on a case by case basis. Supervisors will need a professional qualification in talking therapies regulated by a professional body with a code of ethics and standards.
4: General Volunteering:
The following areas need volunteers.
-Marketing and Communication
-Human Resources (Seva desk)
-General administration of the MACCS drives
-MACCS Community Activities: Developing Coping and Wellbeing strategy