Primrose Hill Neighbours Help’s befriender service is a community ‘Good Neighbours Scheme’ for local older people. We match carefully selected volunteer visitors with people over 60 in the Chalk Farm and Primrose Hill area who would enjoy some extra company at home on a regular basis, or some help getting out and about.
We aim to help local older people to continue living independently and happily in their own homes. The people who volunteer as befrienders with us do so because they care about people and enjoy helping in their community.
PHN Help is one of a number of ‘good neighbour schemes’ in Camden. Ours is managed by an independent management committee and supported by Age UK Camden.
What we offer the over 60s
Most of our volunteers visit our scheme users for a social visit lasting about an hour each week. Some help ‘as and when’ instead, providing occasional assistance with small, simple, practical tasks. Our volunteers can help with any of the following:
- Visiting/befriending people in their homes
- Accompanying people to the shops or to go out for a walk
- Light gardening/plant watering
- Putting up curtains/changing lightbulbs/very minor DIY activities around the home
- Reading; assisting with forms/correspondence; organising paperwork
- Playing games such as bridge or scrabble
Our scheme is a voluntary service offering extra social visits that complement any other care. Our volunteers cannot undertake tasks that are considered an essential service e.g. shopping as there is no back-up if a volunteer cannot make one week. Our volunteers also cannot undertake activities that are the responsibility of local authority care services e.g. personal care, or which might take away paid work from people.
How do we work?
- Our members generally get in touch with us themselves if they would like to become a scheme member and receive a volunteer befriender, but we also receive referrals from care services, GPs, hospitals, other organisations and individuals.
- All potential scheme users will receive a home visit from the coordinator to assess their needs, wants and interests.
- All potential volunteers are carefully selected, interviewed by the coordinator and we seek and verify character references.
- Our volunteers are given full training and support.
- Volunteers are accompanied by the scheme coordinator on all initial visits.
- We really care about making a good match between members and volunteers (and we are very successful at doing this), but this can take time.
- We aim to make matches as quickly as possible, but it is dependent on the availability of suitable volunteers and demand for our service.
- A typical befriending relationship lasts approximately 10-12 months, though many can continue for much longer and many become genuine long-term friendships.
- The Coordinator will work closely with both scheme member and volunteer visitor to review the visit regularly.
- We have links with a number of local organisations for further referrals
- All scheme users and volunteers receive our occasional newsletter and are encouraged to call us for help and information as needed.
scheme flyer: here
Age UK Camden website: www.ageuk.org.uk/camden/