Befrienders are caring, committed persons with an open mind, willing to give of themselves in friendship. No experience or knowledge in the mental health field is required – volunteers are given free training. If a volunteer has had previous mental health problems, then as long as they are in a period of stability, their experience is valuable. We have an equal opportunities policy and welcome adults of all ages, backgrounds, races and cultures. References are taken up for potential befrienders, who must also undergo a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service check, which is a routine procedure essential for those befriending or working with vulnerable adults.
Training courses are held at intervals of about 12-18 months, comprising one midweek evening session, and two sessions on a Saturday. For those who wish to start befriending without waiting for the next training course we offer “interim training”; after submitting an application form, volunteers attend a one-to-one meeting of about 2 hours duration, where the essentials of befriending and our procedures are explained, and hand-outs provided for subsequent reading. Befrienders who have completed interim training and started befriending are expected to attend part of the next full training course, and the following support group meeting.