How does it work?
To make the best of this service, there must be an agreed aim for you and your volunteer to work towards, together. After 2-3 months, progress towards this aim will be reviewed.
If you are accepted as a client, you will be matched to a suitable volunteer, who will meet with you regularly (usually fortnightly for around an hour) for up to six months. This will usually be in a café or other public place such as a community centre or library. We can do home visits (subject to a risk assessment) if appropriate but encourage you to meet in your local community where possible.
During the course of the match, your volunteer will help you, using a person-centred approach, to decide what you want to achieve, to set goals, identify steps necessary to achieve your aspirations and identify sources of help and support. Your current social networks and sources of support are assessed and you will be helped to develop the networks and relationships that would support your chosen area of change, alongside the appropriate professional and specialist services. Goals and action plans are regularly reviewed and revised. The aim is for you to have built enough skills, confidence and support networks within around 6 months, to continue your journey independently of the project.
What is it NOT?
Volunteers DO NOT offer:
- Counselling or therapy
- Specialist advice
- Befriending in the sense of regular companionship for an indefinite period
- Transport or removals
- Cleaning, housework, or personal care.
The project does not seek to replace professional health, social or support services, and should be seen as complementary to, rather than a substitute for, specialist support.
We cannot work with people who:
- Have a high risk of harming others
- Have current, unmanaged, drug or alcohol dependence
- Have complex behaviours that require professional support.
How quickly can I be matched?
This is variable. It can be within a month but can take longer, depending on availability of volunteers and taking into account everyone’s preferences. We prefer to match you with someone we think is suitable for you, rather than simply the first person that becomes available. For this reason, if your need is urgent, we will try to signpost you to a service that can respond more quickly.
What training & experience do volunteers have?
Transitions provides training courses approximately three times a year, to equip volunteers with the skills and knowledge they need for the role. Additional training is provided on an ongoing basis as necessary.
We do not expect our volunteers to become experts in any particular area – they will have an overview of the kind of issues that clients face – but they can research and signpost to other sources of help and advice. Volunteer training focusses on communication skills, goal setting and activity planning, coaching & mentoring and professional practice.
All our volunteers have ‘life experience’ and some may have experience of going through tough times themselves. They do not bring their issues to the role but it can help them to understand how clients are feeling and to relate to clients on a more equal footing than with traditional professional relationships.
Volunteers are carefully selected and required to undertake an Enhanced DBS (criminal records) check. They receive comprehensive training and support, and work within ECI’s policies and procedures. The Transitions Project Co-ordinator oversees the matches and will regularly check in with both the client and volunteer to ensure both are satisfied with the arrangement.
Click here to hear a recording of the Project Co-ordinator talking to John Stammers on Phonic FM about the project.