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Get Involved

Volunteer at Skipton Step into Action

If you have some free time and would like to join a very caring and supportive voluntary community group to help local people in your area with shopping, prescription collection or various other activities, please complete the registration form below.

When a referral is received from a client, it is entirely your decision whether you volunteer for that referral so please consider volunteering no matter how much or how little time you can give.

You will also have opportunities to develop and enhance your skills, experience and knowledge by accessing free training sessions. The training is initially focussed on the requirements of the client group but can be tailored to meet your requirements. We currently offer Safeguarding level 1 Training, Listening Ear Training, Mental Health First Aid and Digital Inclusion Training.

You may also apply for an enhanced DBS check.

Befriender Volunteering Opportunities

Are you thinking about volunteering, but haven’t found the right role yet? Do you enjoy a good chat? SSIA is looking for befrienders to join our busy team, and we’d love to tell you what it’s all about!

What is befriending?

SSIA’s befriending service is for people in our community who would enjoy a friendly phone call or a walk and talk (socially distanced). Our team is really looking forward to the day when they can enjoy a cup of tea and a chat in person with their clients! When restrictions are eased, our priority is to support people to re-engage in local life. We will offer opportunities to enhance health and wellbeing: accompanying the people we support to new and exciting groups and activities, organising group walks in the National Park and opening up opportunities to meet people and enjoy something new.

Our team of befrienders are already working with 68 people in the community and have actioned 715 requests for support to date, very much enjoying the social side of what they do as well as the knowledge that they are really brightening someone’s day.

What is befriending like?

For each person you are matched with, it usually means a phone call each week or a walk in the local area. It can also include accompanying clients to appointments and assisting with shopping.

“For me, it means that I’m interacting with someone who may not have many or any people to chat to. I enjoy the smile I can hear in their voice when they realise I’ve rung for a chat.” (Volunteer Claire)

“I really enjoy being a befriender and connecting with people I otherwise wouldn’t meet in the community. So many people I speak with have such interesting stories to share and it is so heart-warming to realise how many inspirational people there are out there. This role really does fulfil a sense of purpose.” (Volunteer Charlotte)

Who can be a befriender?

If you enjoy talking to people, that’s really all you need. You don’t need to have much spare time, as you can fit your phone call or walk in at a time to suit you both.

Why is befriending an important role?

There are people in our community who live alone, without friends or family for support at this challenging time. Loneliness and isolation are a real concern, and human contact is so important for us all – just to hear a friendly voice can have such a positive impact on someone’s day. Befrienders do their utmost to instil hope through conversations and empower people to fulfil their sense of purpose.

One of our clients said, “I have been receiving calls from Judith for a good few months now and I have grown to look forward to her calls. Judith is always cheerful, supportive and wonderful to talk to. I would just like to say a massive thank you for putting Judith and I in touch through this service. On the days I am feeling isolated and depressed which happens from time to time, I’m always happier and more positive after my call. This is a fabulous service you provide. Thank you so much.”

Another client said, “Going for a walk with one of your lovely volunteers has meant I can get out and about again to enjoy the fresh air and exercise. I had lost my confidence to walk alone after living in isolation for ten months and suffering with arthritis. We organise calls & walks in advance and, thanks to your organisation, I have the motivation and determination to get out there and enjoy the beauty of nature again. My health has certainly improved as a result of the SSIA befriending service and I am very grateful.” 

What training and support is there?

Basic training involves online Safeguarding training and an understanding of our Safeguarding Policy. We hope to offer Mental Health First Aid training very soon.

We have a Befrienders WhatsApp group and regular Zoom calls for the team to check in with each other, ask questions and get support. Our management team are always available if you require any additional help.

The next level of training, “Engage for Change”, allows you to support clients with more complex needs (referred via social prescribers from the local GP surgeries). There is no pressure for you to do so, and it’s something you can decide on as your experience and confidence grows. We have some really exciting plans for additional training and development opportunities this year! You are required to have a current enhanced DBS check to take the social prescribing referrals.

“My year with SSIA has helped me to gain confidence, through training opportunities and meeting such a wonderful team of like-minded, caring people who have the same passion to help others. Helping people in our community who are lonely and isolated is very rewarding – to know you are making a difference to people’s wellbeing throughout these difficult times.” (Volunteer Sarah)

To find out more about becoming a befriender, please send us a message on Facebook, call our helpline on 01756 802 098 (9am to 1:00pm Monday to Friday) or email management@ssia.org.uk

How to get in touch with us

Call: 01756 802 098 - 9am to 1pm Monday to Friday

Supported By

Skipton Step into Action is able to work with people and the community because of the generous support of different organisations and individuals – thank you.

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