Volunteers Supporting Families in Southend has been running since 2009 and is supported by Southend Borough Council.
Volunteers Supporting Families recruits, trains and matches volunteers to mentor and support families with children at risk of neglect or harm. This could be that the child/children is/are on child protection, or that there are complex needs in the family such as; alcohol or substance misuse, mental or emotional ill health or domestic violence.
Our project staff match volunteers with a family, and through them support is given via weekly visits to the family, offering advice, or just listening to their problems. Our volunteers help keep families together; reducing the number of children on child protection/Child in Need plans. This is done simply by helping the parents to improve their parenting skills, reducing isolation by being a friendly face and overall improving the quality of family life. All of this helps reduce pressures and reliance on social care services.
Simple put, the volunteers who are part of the Volunteers Supporting Families project must have an interest in helping people – both parents and children. Full training is provided, so it’s not necessary to have previous experience working with families. Often, our volunteers find that their own life experience helps them offer support to families.
- Aged over 18 years old
- Able and willing to commit to visiting the family once every week, for a minimum of 6 months
- Willing to provide references and complete a DBS (criminal record) check, paid for by Volunteering Matters
- Be dedicated and strong, not be disappointed if there are no big changes straight away.
- Be caring and friendly, and most importantly, be a good listener
- Have an interest in helping people, both parents and children
WHAT WE PROVIDE
As well as gaining experience working with families, volunteers have the chance to undertake further training depending on their interests and the needs of the family they support.
- Full training and support from VSF project staff throughout your time volunteering
- Future references
- Reasonable out of pocket expenses, including travel costs