Life today is full of pressures. Parenting is a challenging job and growing up in an inner city can be tough. Whether you're feeling low, vulnerable, unable to cope, confused about how to move forward or swamped by responsibilities, we can help. Our friendship is unconditional - all we ask of you is the wish to make changes for the better.
How can I get help from Family Friends?
If you live in Kensington & Chelsea, Hammersmith & Fulham, Westminster or Brent, we may be able to help you. Our Parent Befriending service is for parents with a child or children under the age of 18 years. Our Big Buddies service is for children aged between 10 - 18.
Please contact us for more information. Please note that to complete a self-referral, we will need to also speak to a professional such as your local GP, school, social worker, health visitor or any other organisation that may be supporting you. We have good links and regular contact with all these groups and can help guide you through the referral process.
What happens after a referral?
After we have received a referral here's what happens next:
One of our team of family connectors will contact the person who made the referral to ask a few questions. This is to make sure that we are the right service and are able to offer the right support.
We will then contact the family, to introduce ourselves and to arrange an initial home visit. Trained family connectors will visit to carry out an informal assessment to find out what the family want and need and to create a person-centred support plan.
This could include some or all of the following:
- The option of being matched with a trained volunteer befriender or mentor (for 10-18 year olds)
- An invitation to become part of our family friends network and come to our groups and trips.
- A commitment to regular phone check-ins.
If it is agreed at the assessment that a volunteer befriender or mentor will be part of our support, the family connector will carefully identify a suitable volunteer and arrange for a match meeting between them and the family member which again will happen in the family home.
From this point onwards, the volunteer and family will make their own arrangements to meet for regular sessions in the community, with the family member choosing how they would like to spend those sessions. Families and volunteers usually commit to meeting weekly for a period of 6 to 12 months.
During this time the family connector will keep in touch with the family and the volunteer, monitoring the session feedback and organising 3, 6 and 12 month evaluation sessions to make sure the support is working.
Who are Family Friends’ volunteers?
Family Friends’ befrienders and mentors come from a wide range of backgrounds and they are selected for their qualities of warmth, understanding and practicality. They use our training and their commitment and life experiences to become a supportive friend or mentor. Many use their experience of volunteering with us to help develop their own careers. Our volunteers recognise the importance of reliability, confidentiality and trust. All volunteers are screened, police-checked, interviewed and trained. They are regularly supervised by the staff at Family Friends.
“I find Donna easy to talk to and I feel relieved whenever I’ve discussed problems with her. She has helped reinforce the boundaries and rules at home; it’s been a real support to have another adult be consistent and firm with the boys.”
“I love my Monday morning as I know that if I am stressed or feeling down that Trina takes it all away from me. I didn’t ever believe anyone could help me as much as Trina has.”
“In the beginning, I was very uneasy about contacting Family Friends – I did not like the idea of having a stranger coming to my home. However, when I met Eni, I quickly warmed to her and I am now very happy I took on the support.”