Provide support and companionship for a group of people with learning disabilities, with the help of trained support workers. You might help out by leading a sporting activity, helping with a cooking group or playing an instrument. Minimum commitment: 6 months. Weekdays or weekends. 


Role:                            Buddy/Befriender

Supported by:         Housing or Outreach Manager / Key worker & Volunteer Coordinator

Location:                    At the person’s home and out in the community

Length of commitment: 6 months minimum
Frequency: Usually once a week
Estimated total hours: Usually a couple of hours a week as agreed with the tenant/ outreach user (when mutually available)


Purpose of the Buddy/Support Worker volunteer role:

To provide people with learning disabilities regular and ongoing companionship and support.

A buddy / befriender may help someone by providing emotional support and regular social contact through outings, sharing interests, doing activities together, visiting places they would like to go or just meeting up for a chat. A buddy supports a person achieve more independence in their lives as well as helping reduce social isolation and interacting more with their community. The buddy/ befriender makes a real and positive impact on a person’s life and offers them the opportunity for making a valued friend.

Examples of the support you will offer:

  • Enabling people to build confidence, self-esteem and a more independent life style.
  • To help people reach their goals and let them to be involved in day to day and long term decision making.
  • To provide and participate in a wide range of social activities, including outings, activities, and opportunities to visit new places.
  • To provide emotional support and companionship

Other expectations:

  • To work with a person in a way that takes account of their individual, cultural and religious needs.
  • To communicate on a regular basis with the Volunteer Co-ordinator and housing/ outreach staff on how it’s going as well as reporting any incidents.
  • Volunteers will be expected to travel around the local area accessing local/community facilities.
  • Volunteers will be invited to support sessions and offered training.

Personal attributes:

Volunteers will be expected to be a good listener and to be calm and patient with the ability to help someone understand issues without imposing their own opinion.

This role offers volunteers the opportunity to enable people to enjoy a friendly, relaxed and inclusive experience and to learn to be more confident, assertive and happy in their lives.

Previous experience of or knowledge of working with a vulnerable client group would be helpful but is not essential as training and an induction is provided.

Our people:

We have a diverse range of people with learning disabilities looking for buddy/ befrienders and we try to match people up according to their interests. We work with people who may experience social isolation, may have a mental health issue and have varying support needs (mild to moderate to high and complex needs). In the interview we will discuss what you are hoping to get out of volunteering and match you accordingly.

As a Centre 404 volunteer you will receive:

  • An induction to the role
  • Reimbursement of out of pocket travel expenses relating to your volunteer placement (up to £5 per session)
  • Ongoing support and supervision with the Volunteer Coordinator
  • Any identified training required to enable you to perform the volunteer role to the best of your ability, which will be arranged by and paid for by Centre 404
  • After 3 months as a Centre 404 volunteer, we will provide a reference if required for paid work or for other purposes
  • Protection through Centre 404’s employee liability insurance policy whilst on the premises or engaged in any work on behalf of Centre 404
  • Opportunities to meet other Centre 404 volunteers to share experiences
  • Invitation to the Centre 404 Annual General Meeting Summer Garden Party
  • Centre 404’s quarterly newsletter

Other information:

This volunteer placement is subject to references and a DBS check. The recruitment of all volunteer placements adhere to Centre 404’s equal opportunities policy.