In recent years, with the NHS, schools and children’s services all tightening their belts, volunteer programmes have become increasingly important for vulnerable families. Volunteers offer a unique contribution because they are usually perceived as independent with no agenda other than to support the beneficiaries and contribute something positive to society.

Generally speaking, they do not encounter the trust barriers many public sector professionals face when working with vulnerable families. The social work profession is very familiar with this problem. The stigma of social work involvement can make it challenging for social workers to build trusting relationships with clients.

Our Volunteers Supporting Families (VSF) programme helps address this. Trained volunteers commit to visiting a vulnerable family on a weekly basis for at least six months. During these visits, which typically last for two to six hours, the volunteers provide practical and emotional support for families dealing with serious life challenges such as substance misuse, unemployment, poor housing and chronic physical and mental health conditions.


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