Volunteer Family Support Service

MNH have been delivering the Volunteer Family Support Service across North Lincolnshire since June 2012.

Targeted at families with children aged 0-11 the project offers a variety of support to parents on parenting, and aims to help parents and carers to lead strong positive family lives.

The Volunteer Family Support Service is delivered by a team of qualified staff and volunteer Befrienders. Such befriending support may be required where parents need a helping hand, either as a preventative measure in order to provide families with early help to improve family independence, or as a ‘step down’ strategy from targeted local authority or NHS support. Additionally, some parents may need extra encouragement to undertake their parenting responsibilities in full.  For example this may be because the parent has needs in their own right, because of poor mental health, substance misuse, learning disability, domestic violence, the impact of poverty, or any combination of disadvantages.

The staff team and trained Volunteer Befrienders meet with families on a regular basis and support them by:

  • Offering friendship and practical assistance that includes support that is child focussed and/or household focussed.
  • Reflecting upon problems and sharing common ways forward.
  • Developing a relationship with families which is flexible to take into account differing needs.
  • Encouraging the parents’ to recognise their strengths to build emotional wellbeing for the benefit of their own children.
  • Encouraging families to widen their network of relationships to access services available in the community.
  • To promote the potential for self-support between families, encouraging befriending and reducing social isolation.
  • Offering advice and guidance to families according to specific need.
  • Preparing the families to be more independent and using a range of community based services.

How to Access the Service

The project is a referral only service. Referrers can be from any organisation i.e. social care, health, education or any other organisation working with a family, who may have identified a need for the parents or children.

If you know of a family who may benefit from working with the Volunteer Family Support Service, please complete and return the following referral form and see the other documents for further information:

  • Referral Form
  • Information for Families
  • Information for Referees

Once approved, the Service will set up an introductory appointment where possible within 5 working days of receipt of the referral. Joint initial visits from the referrer are encouraged., as they have a working relationship with the family. The purpose of the initial visit is to introduce the service; discuss with the parent/s the nature of the referral made; and introduce our Outcomes assessment, and how this can help parents identify how the service can be of support to them.

A second appointment is then given where the Outcomes Assessment is undertaken. This assessment helps parents not only to identify where they might need support, but also helps them see what is working well for them. From here an action plan is developed with the parents to help identify what areas they would like to address first. The Service then works directly with the family and also matches them to a Volunteer Befriender. Support is provided on an initial 16 week basis with reviews undertaken at 8 and 16 weeks. If further support is required, this is done in negotiation with the volunteer, parent, and if required will be extended for a further 6 to 12 weeks.

Information for Befrienders

As a befriender you will work 1-2-1 with a family and support them to make positive changes to their everyday lives. This will be achieved through supporting the family to access community based services and other support they require.

To become a volunteer Befriender, you need to possess the following skills and qualities:

  • Good communication and social skills
  • Be committed and reliable
  • Have an willingness to undertake training
  • Be aged over 21
  • Have an interest in families and supporting people

By volunteering as a Befriender you will have the opportunity to make a real difference to a family and the local community. In addition you will receive:

  • Full training relevant to the role
  • Opportunities to work with families and other support professionals
  • The opportunity to work with other types of organisations
  • Regular support meetings with a member of the Volunteer Family Support Service Team
  • Reimbursement of travel expenses
  • The opportunity to develop and learn new skills that may help  towards gaining professional qualifications
  • Valuable experience for your CV

For more information about this project or how to become a Befriender please contact a member of the team.

Volunteer Family Support Service Referral Form
Information for Families
Information for Referees

Contact us:

Volunteer Family Support Service
Meeting New Horizons
Community Café
Willoughby Road
North Lincolnshire
DN17 2JX