Big Buddies


What is Big Buddies?

Our Big Buddies support young people aged 10-18 for a few hours weekly or fortnightly over a period of 6-12 months. Young people have an equal voice in deciding how they wish to spend their time. Family Friends’ services are initiated only with the consent of the young person and their family. The most important criteria for receiving Family Friends’ support is that the young person is keen to make changes and engage with a Befriender 

Support might look like:

  • Trying fun activities together, such as sport or trips to a museum.
  • Help with homework or projects
  • Help with college or job applications
  • Encouragement to try new things

Ivan makes us feel more confident and happy and he’s brilliant helping with homework

How do we work?

At Family Friends we carefully recruit and train our volunteer mentors and we make a real effort to match each young person with the right volunteer. Young people meet their Big Buddies for a few hours either weekly or fortnightly. Our volunteers pledge a minimum six month commitment and Family Friends’ staff back up their work with on-going supervision.

“I was struggling with organisation at home, situations at school and I really needed my own space because it is busy in the house. A teacher at school told me about Family Friends. They said that I would get someone who would help me with these things”

What do young people gain?

Since Family Friends was set up in 1993, we have assisted hundreds of children and young people. 

Young people have gained confidence and self-esteem by enjoying a positive relationship with a trusted adult, giving them someone to talk to and share any problems or issues with. This relationship can make a key difference to a child’s social, emotional and educational development.

Our Big Buddies introduce young people to new activities, enrol in local community clubs and together visit places of interest and outside spaces.  Many of the young people we have supported have developed academically, improved behaviour, enjoyed school more and made new friends. Others have learnt how to cook healthy meals and become fitter.

“From our first visit, Eleanor was friendly and very understanding of all the things I had to say and helped me to see through every problem”