Parent Befriending

Family Friends' volunteers offer a listening ear and time to learn about the problems and experiences of a family. Through respect, encouragement and support, they aim to help families discover their strengths, build confidence and resolve difficulties. As well as providing much needed emotional support, they help our families on a practical level too. A volunteer may introduce a parent to community resources, find out about relevant social benefits, visit the local park with them or give support around parenting. They do not offer home-help or baby-sitting services.

What Parents Say:

"Margaret is better than Prozac."
"I find it difficult to trust people, but I have been able to open up to Mark. He really understands me."
"Carole does things that a mother would do."
"Diane is such a good listener and she helps me remember how much I have, rather than what I am missing."
"I'm now excited about the future and have stopped thinking about the past so much."
"Susan brings a smile to all our faces."
"My volunteer is very helpful - she is very very supportive with whatever I need help with."
"Very active, a very kind person. She helps a lot."

Case Study

Catherine, a 23 year old single mother with four children under the age of seven, was referred by her health visitor.  Catherine was suffering from mild depression, feeling very overwhelmed with a young baby and her second child was suspected of suffering from narcolepsy.  Her Family Friend Olga quickly gained Catherine’s trust while the children loved her reading to them and encouraging their mother to take them on picnics to the park. Olga supported Catherine in successful grant applications for a new cooker and fridge and also a table and chairs. This enabled the two of them to work on spring cleaning, reorganising the kitchen and thinking about safety in a household with small children. The family is now able to eat together around a table and hold organised homework sessions. Olga is encouraging Catherine to think about her future in terms of applying for college courses and also her health; together they tried out an exercise class and Catherine now goes regularly. Catherine had a difficult relationship with her mother but with Olga’s support, is trying to re-establish contact as her mother has been diagnosed with cancer. Catherine is also discussing the plans for her son’s christening with Olga.