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Volunteering Matters - Information for families

Volunteers Supporting Families (VSF)

We all know that caring for children isn't easy. It's a 24 hour job which can be lonely at times. It can be hard to juggle everything that needs to be done and you can feel overwhelmed.

That's why it's important to have someone who can help you and that you can talk to.

How does it work?

We will introduce you to a volunteer who will offer you the support you need to keep your child or children safe, as well as providing support for you. We know from talking to parents that volunteers make a real difference to family life by improving relationships and reducing stress.

Volunteers also help you to move away from the support of social care so you can live independent lives.

Your volunteer will visit about once a week. They will listen to you and help you with practical things like:

  • helping you set boundaries for your children
  • helping you to get into a routine so your children are ready for school with all the things they need
  • supporting you to gain confidence as a parent by helping with your parenting skills
  • supporting you in ensuring that your home is a happy and safe place for you and your child or children
  • attending meetings with you for moral support
  • supporting you to make links with the community
  • offering you a listening ear and helping you to get advice from suitable professionals.

Volunteers aren't paid; they are supporting you and your family because they want to help. All our volunteers are carefully selected, screened, trained and supervised and are there just for you. They may not have all the answers but they will guide you and help you find solutions.

It's your choice whether you agree to have a volunteer or not. If you do say yes, the volunteer's involvement will be planned with you, your social worker and Volunteering Matters staff.    

Information about you and your child or children will be kept confidential unless you agree to information being shared. However, if the volunteer believes that you or your child or children are at risk of harm they have to tell your social worker about this.

About Volunteering Matters

Volunteering Matters is the UK's volunteering and learning charity with over 50 years of experience running volunteer programmes. Volunteers make a difference by supporting families in difficulty, young people leaving care, disabled and vulnerable adults and isolated older people. Through our learning centres young people are able to learn new skills and find employment.

We need volunteers

We work with social care teams to find and refer the families who might need our support. We want to help you and your children to be safe and happy so you can live successful, independent lives.  

Volunteers Supporting Families project matches trained volunteers with families where at least one child is at risk of abuse or neglect, orwhere families are not yet involved in social care but need extra support.

You will visit the family you are matched with regularly for a minimum of six months, providing support by listening, advising and offering practical help (such as helping to organise bedtime routines or accessing local community resources). Training and full support is provided.

The Volunteers Supporting Families role is a challenging but rewarding one. You will have:

  • 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 a positive presence in a family's life

We are primarily looking for volunteers who live within South Tyneside but will consider applicants from across Tyne and Wear.

Please note: volunteers must be over 18 years old. You will need to provide details of two referees and undergo an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check and possibly Local Authority checks.

We provide volunteers with full training, ongoing support and supervision and travel expenses.

For further information: contact Alison or Tracey on 0191 4244740 or 4244741 or email stynevsf@volunteeringmatters.org.uk

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