Charity appeals for volunteer befrienders

An Aberdeenshire charity is appealing for volunteer befrienders and mentors as waiting lists of children continue to grow.

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 11:25 am
Kate Webb and her befriendee Regan (name changed to protect identity)

Befriend a Child has been supporting school aged children and young people growing up in difficult life circumstances across Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire since 1975 and never before has the charity experienced such a surge in its referrals as it has as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We receive referrals from a number of sources including education, healthcare and third sector partners with partners citing social isolation, child’s mental health and parental mental health as just some of the reasons for a child’s referral. Currently we have 45 children in need of a befriender or mentor, and we’d love to get them matched and start making a real difference to the children’s lives,” said Jean Gordon, the charity’s head of operations.

The charity is looking for volunteer befrienders and mentors who can bring enthusiasm, fun and stability to the life of a local child or young person through regular outings and activities.

Volunteers can apply individually or as a couple and aren’t required to have worked with children before as full training and regular support is given from the experienced Befriend a Child staff team.

The charity is reaching out to local people who are non-judgemental, reliable and have plenty of enthusiasm.

Following training and a PVG certification, volunteers are asked to give a minimum commitment of one year to the young person they are matched with. Volunteer befrienders spending 2-3 hours a fortnight with their befriendee and

mentors spending 2-3 hours a week with their mentee.

"We are appealing to the Aberdeenshire public to get involved, if you can dedicate a couple of hours a week as a mentor or every fortnight as a befriender to a local child to take part in fun activities, help them learn new skills and show them more of what life has to offer then we’d love to hear from you,” said Nicola Milne, Befriending Manager.

Befriend a Child would like to urge anyone thinking about becoming a volunteer befriender or mentor to get in touch with the team for an application pack by emailing [email protected] for more information.