Young Persons Befriending Service
Volunteer Glasgow’s Young Persons Befriending Service provides support to isolated and vulnerable 8–18 year olds living in funded areas of Glasgow. The service matches young people who are experiencing difficulties with adult volunteers who are recruited, trained and supported. The Service benefits three main groups:
Young People, who will:
- build a relationship with a supportive adult;
- have opportunities for personal development and the potential for increasing resilience;
- have access to activities and community resources which had previously been out of their reach.
Befrienders, who will:
- access a high quality volunteering opportunity;
- attend Foundation and ongoing training;
- gain or further develop skills and capacities valuable in the employment market;
- make a significant difference to a young person and a contribution to the community.
Communities, which will
- see the addition to service provision to children and families.
It is also the experience of YPBS (over a number of years) that participants in befriending have fun. Young Persons Befriending Service is supported by Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Community Planning Partnership. The service was amongst the first in Scotland to be awarded Approved Provider Standard — a national benchmark from the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation.
Do you want to volunteer?
The dates for the first Foundation Training Programme of 2017 have been set so now is the time to get in touch with us. The training will be on
20th, 22nd and 27th of Feb and 1st, 6th and 8th of March – it will be from 5.45pm until 8.30
If this doesn’t suit we will have more training in May, August and November.
May and November’s programmes will be on 3 Saturdays and August will be on weekday evenings.
If you want to be involved, get in touch. We’d be happy to hear from you.
YPBS is designed for young people who are experiencing difficulties – these may relate to unusual pressures at home; health or disability issues or some other factor. Most of the young people that YPBS matches face a number of difficulties and many have had experiences of relationships which have been inconsistent or unreliable. Befriending seeks to offer these young people a different experience – one where they have opportunities for new and positive activities, where they have choices, where they can learn to trust their own judgement and where they can have fun. This sounds like a tall order but with weekly visits with a volunteer befriender who holds the young person in positive regard, access to age appropriate activities, support from experienced and informed staff and enough time a relationship can be built which allows the young person to develop confidence, skills and resilience.
YPBS Volunteers are adults who are interested in supporting a young person, are able to spend time with someone once a week for between 2 and 3 hours and are able to commit to a befriending relationship which may be difficult and will certainly require several months to develop. On average matches last about 18 months so this should be seen as a long term investment in yourself. Come along and talk to us about the time you have to offer
As a Volunteer Befriender you stand to gain:
- experience and skills valuable to employers and training/education providers
- the opportunity to impact positively on a young person, their outlook and development
- a chance to try new activities or revisit ones you haven’t done for years
- a way of contributing to your community
YPBS will provide Foundation training (around 15 hours) as part of the recruitment and selection process. That way you will know what will be expected of you as a Befriender and what you can expect from YPBS in terms of support. The training is designed to prepare you for the role of Befriender and to allow YPBS to get to know you so that we can make the most appropriate matches of Befrienders and young people. We match volunteers on the basis that they are the best befriender for an individual young person in terms of abilities, experience and personal qualities. Secondly, we will seek the match for each volunteer which best addresses their interests, motivations and aspirations. We also provide ongoing training on topics relating to befriending and young people.
Volunteer Glasgow views befriending as the provision of support to a young person through the partnership of a Volunteer Befriender and YPBS. The best results are achieved when Befrienders and Support Workers communicate openly and frequently and when a match is reviewed and planned in a structured way.
Expenses for travel and activities can be claimed and an initial float is supplied so that you are not out of pocket.
Befrienders are supported throughout their volunteering:
- monthly meetings with a designated Support Worker will review the match, discuss the young person’s progress, provide feedback on befriending and plan befriending for the following weeks.
- quarterly Support Events enable Befrienders to meet as a group to exchange ideas, discuss difficulties
- phone and email support allows issues to be addressed quickly as well as keeping the Befriender up to date on any change in circumstance for the young person
- access to a range of policies and guidelines to provide answers to the questions which will arise on for example Child Protection, Confidentiality, Matching.
If you would are interested in finding out more, are able to make a commitment to a befriending match with a young person who will need your support then we would be delighted to talk to you. You can contact us
0141 226 3431
Give a Little, Gain a Lot
Befrienders have said:
“I hadn’t been at any kind of training for years so I was a bit nervous but I soon got into the swing of it. The sessions were fun but made me think about a lot of things that hadn’t occurred to me before.” — Befriender of girl aged 8.
“At the beginning it wasn’t clear whether he wanted a befriender or not, so I spoke to my support worker after almost every visit for a while. Things have settled down now – he seems to enjoy befriending now but it’s good to talk the visits over and to know that the support’s there when I need it.” — Befriender of boy aged 15.
“I wanted to do something that would make a difference to a child but was worried about how hard it would be. I never expected to get so much out of it – she’s given me so much to think about and I’m having so much fun.” — Befriender of girl aged 11.
Requesting a befriender
Young people who are having difficulties, whether that is because of unusual pressures in the family or at school, can be matched with a volunteer befriender who will spend 2–3 hours a week with them, sharing activities and building a relationship which gives support and opportunities to have fun. Anyone can refer a young person to YPBS but Volunteer Glasgow would expect a referrer to have discussed the referral with the young person and their parent/guardian beforehand. A Support Worker from YPBS will visit you and give you information about the service and find out about your child so that we can match them with the most suitable volunteer. All the volunteers have completed training with Volunteer Glasgow and have been carefully vetted. Once your child has been matched with a volunteer befriender they would spend time together once a week – some matches meet at the same time each week and others arrange visits from week to week. Your Support Worker will visit every 2 or 3 months to talk over how the match is going, how your child is benefitting from the service and to check that there are no problems.
Young People and family members have said:
“It’s made a big difference – having someone who takes him out to badminton and football. He loves sport but without his befriender he wouldn’t go by himself. I was worried he’d get into trouble before – a lot of kids just hang around – but he’s not interested.” — Parent of boy aged 14.
“I didn’t know how it would work – she’s not confident about people she doesn’t know but at first visits were short and now she can’t wait for her befriender to come.” — Parent of girl aged 9.
“It’s good – she listens to me and lets me know the things I want to talk about are important.” — Young person aged 13.
If you would like to refer a young person or would like further information about the Young Persons Befriending Service please contact any member of the team (contact details are further down the page)
Do you know a young person you would like to refer?
The Young Persons Befriending Service operates an open referral system so that the support which befriending offers is readily accessible to the most vulnerable. We will do our best to remove any barriers for a referral whether that’s about adapting procedures or materials so please let us know how we can help. It is important to discuss the Service with the young person and their parents/carers before making the referral. Support staff will gather as much information as possible about the young person, their circumstances, abilities and interests so that the Service can identify the most suitable volunteer befriender for each individual young person. The emphasis on the best match for each young person means that waiting times for young people are not the primary factor in the matching process. Befriending provides an addition to services for children and families so support staff will maintain contact with referring agencies throughout a match so that the service can respond to changing circumstances or simply be informed about what’s going on for the young person. It is important for referrers and others to let us know about any change in circumstances for a young person so that we are sure that befriending is the right service for them and that we can identify the best befriender for each young person. Support staff will be happy to update referrers on a befriending match on a regular basis and attend reviews or planning meetings so that befriending can complement other service provision.
Young Persons Befriending Service,
Abbey House (1st Floor),
10 Bothwell Street,
Telephone: 0141 226 3431
Fax: 0141 221 0716