Our SocialEyes volunteer befrienders provide support to people with sight loss to enable them to enjoy social and leisure activities.
What can a SocialEyes Volunteer Befriender do?
The activities on offer to you as a SocialEyes Volunteer Befriender are as varied as the people we work with! Some volunteers may wish to visit someone in their home, to provide companionship or help with everyday tasks such as reading their post. Others enable people to get out and about with confidence again or maybe to enjoy a favourite hobby. We’ve had requests for everything from tandem cycling and knitting to theatre trips!
We also have some Volunteer Befrienders who support people over the phone with regular friendly chats which help to reduce loneliness and isolation as well as providing a link to our services when a person is in need of them.
Listen to our SocialEyes Stories and see what difference you could make
Every person with sight loss has different needs. Some people may have little to no vision but be very capable of getting out and about on their own; others may be able to see more but still need a reassuring arm to give them the confidence to get out and about, to use public transport or to access new environments.
Sometimes when a person is diagnosed with sight loss, they may find that previous friendships wane as they no longer share the same interests. Sight loss can be very isolating. Not only is the outside world now a potentially frightening place, but people do not always know how to behave around someone who is blind or partially sighted.
“My volunteer makes me feel connected to the world again”
As a volunteer, you really could help to re-connect somebody with the world again, give them a helping hand to get their confidence back and make a huge difference to their life by breaking down those barriers with them. Listen to our SocialEyes Stories to hear from some of our existing partnerships…
The 1st film is in memory of Mr Rod Coates, who sadly passed away on Sunday 22nd March. Sight Concern were honoured to have been able to help him to continue doing one of the things that he loved.
Take a look at some of our SocialEyes requests…
In these next videos, Frankie talks about what she would like to do and how a SocialEyes Volunteer could help her. You can find more examples of the kind of support people have asked for on our SocialEyes Volunteer Opportunities page.
Can you help Frankie?
How do I become a SocialEyes Volunteer Befriender?
If you decide you would like to become a Volunteer Befriender, or are interested but would like to find out a bit more first, you just need to contact our office and ask about the SocialEyes Volunteer Befriender service. You will be referred to our Volunteer Coordinator who will give you a call to have a chat about your interests, the kind of activities you would enjoy doing and the requests we have had in your local area. Once you’ve filled in a quick application form, we will book you onto training!
What training would I need to do?
No one expects you to start straight away in a new role! All of our SocialEyes Volunteers attend our induction training which is usually a morning or afternoon session.
The first part consists of a Sight Loss Awareness course during which you will learn about different sight problems (including trying on our simulation cards which give you an insight into how a person with sight loss sees!), ways in which you can help and how-to guide someone. In the second part of the session, we will tell you more about the charity and how we will support you.
Do you require background checks?
We ask all volunteers to provide two references. In this role, you will also be asked to complete an enhanced DBS check (i.e. a criminal record check) with the help of one of our Admin Team. If you have any concerns about this, please just ask!
What happens next?
Once you have completed your training, discussed possible matches with our Volunteer Coordinator and decided who you would like to volunteer with, we will contact that person to arrange an introductory meeting with both of you and the Volunteer Coordinator. If you are then happy that you want to go ahead, you will both be good to go!
We will keep in contact with you and the person you are supporting to ensure you are both happy with the partnership and to offer any other help or advice if needed.
What is the time commitment?
As with the activities you do, how often you meet is entirely up to you and the person you are supporting. We have set up partnerships for people who have wanted to spend everything from a couple of hours a week together to a day once every four to six weeks.
What would I not be expected to do?
Our SocialEyes Volunteers are not expected to provide ‘services’ such as personal care, gardening or cleaning. You are there to provide companionship and support in overcoming some of the challenges sight loss can create. If ever you had concerns, we would be here to support you.
Does it cost anything?
It doesn’t cost anything to be a SocialEyes Volunteer and we will cover the cost of your travel to and from the home of the person you are supporting. If they wish to get out and about with your help, we ask that they cover any further costs.
I want to volunteer!
That’s fantastic – we can’t wait to hear from you! You can find out more about volunteering with us, whether for SocialEyes or any other role, simply by going to Contact Us or telephoning our office on 01905 723245 and asking to speak to our Volunteer Coordinator Jackie Murrall. You can also contact her directly, either by email email@example.com or phone on 07570 323913
How do I request a volunteer?
If you or somebody you know would benefit from a SocialEyes Volunteer, you are welcome to contact us via the details above (if you are contacting us on someone else’s behalf, you will need their consent).