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AgeUK Volunteer befriending

(16 Posts)
HowVeryDareYou Mon 16-May-22 13:20:34

I've got some time spare nowadays, as I'm unable to go back to work now (I'm 63) so I applied to be a befriender. It's a voluntary position.

I hadn't realised the process would be so long-winded. I've:

spoken on the 'phone to someone to apply
completed all the forms
had 2 references
had an "interview" in my home
provided 3 different proofs of I.D. (someone else came to my home for that)
got the Enhanced Disclosure (DBS)
done hours of (unpaid) training online, downloaded the certificates

Now, I've apparently got to do a Zoom meeting, then complete an induction, and then I will have to wait to be matched with a lonely older person. I realise that checks and safeguarding issues have to be gone through, but this has now taken about 3 months - AIBU in wishing I hadn't bothered to apply?

Ailidh Mon 16-May-22 13:44:30

I can see both sides. It's frustrating for you but when my Mum applied for one, I was glad that they'd been well vetted.
(And lovely. And in addition to family visits!)

Aveline Mon 16-May-22 13:56:02

It's good that they are so careful and really look out for their client's safety. Hang in there. I'm sure you won't regret it.

Germanshepherdsmum Mon 16-May-22 14:09:13

I agree, it’s a good thing. Anyone with evil intent could become a befriender without the rigorous checking and procedures.

J52 Mon 16-May-22 14:27:31

I have gone through this process and it did take several months. I could understand why, the vetting of credentials is one aspect, but the training is very important. It is very easy to innocently say something to an old lonely person that could cause stress.
I always made notes to build on whatever they had said the previous call, it kept the conversation flowing and made me aware of what I was saying.

Suki70 Mon 16-May-22 15:12:53

My DH applied to be a telephone friend half way through the pandemic. He was already DBS checked as before lockdown he’d been a Home Library Volunteer. The checking process took so long that by the time AgeUK started the matching process DH had died.

HowVeryDareYou Mon 16-May-22 15:36:58

Suki70 So sorry to hear that flowers

HowVeryDareYou Mon 16-May-22 15:38:22

I worked in the care sector for 22 years until last summer, so have been well aware (and had training for) safeguarding and such.

kittylester Mon 16-May-22 18:09:42

Aren't dbs checks specific to the organisation?

FindingNemo15 Mon 16-May-22 18:50:53

I applied to volunteer for the CAB bureau and I never heard anything for months. The day after I broke my shoulder in three places they phoned and I explained that I could not do it. They asked what shoulder I had broken as I could use the other hand. They did not think how I was not going to be able to drive to get there!

silverlining48 Mon 16-May-22 19:15:11

When i was 17 I contacted the local London council and they sent me off to visit two older ladies who both lived alone and were lonely. No interview, no training no checks, no nothing
I really enjoyed getting to know them and hope they were happy with my compsny too.
Now I am an older lady too and quite where the time has gone, I just dont know but I remember thinking they were so old and now I know, on the inside they felt about 18.

HowVeryDareYou Tue 17-May-22 08:27:15

kittylester I'm on the update system (I pay £13 annually) where anyone/any company can look up my details and see my DBS status, although some companies do like to do their own DBS

kittylester Tue 17-May-22 08:39:56

Thanks howverydareyou.

All three of the charities I volunteer with have required their own.

Franbern Tue 17-May-22 08:42:20

Surely, nobody decided to go along any volunteer route without understanding that there will be a long, and well organised induction period.

Did the OP really think that when they decided to become a volunteer in this field they would be doing this role without this sort of training and checks being put in place??

Far from being frustrated they should start to understand the seriousness of the role they are taking on and be very grateful that Age UK takes their responsibilities of Safeguarding so very seriously.

Do hope that the OP is taking it all in also on their training courses.

Froglady Tue 17-May-22 08:50:52


Aren't dbs checks specific to the organisation?

As far as I know the dbs checks/certificate are universal as previously everyone had to have one for each organisation they volunteered for - all the checks, the cost of each one, it just made sense to unite them - it was decided that it would be one dbs check and certificate for each volunteer, no matter how many organisations they volunteered otherwise everything was just being duplicated. I believe that volunteering at schools may have different rules.
On another note I had a volunteer befriender when I was going through a difficult phase and my volunteer frequently was telling me confidential information about other people he visited! I withdrew from the arrangement very quickly. That was a few years ago and I hope that things have improved since then.

HowVeryDareYou Tue 17-May-22 09:56:02

Franbern Thanks for your input. I didn't realise it would be such a drawn-out process. Of course I understand the need for checks etc. I've got 22 years' experience working in the care sector. I also now do a voluntary role with Re-Engage (I ring elderly lonely people) and there wasn't any of this. I just think that with so many people being housebound and isolated, desperate for a bit of companionship, things might be done a bit quicker.