Older Person Befriender

Elder Tree Ltd.

Name: Older Person Befriender
Organisation: Elder Tree Ltd.
Location: 3 Tresillian Street, Cattedown, Plymouth, Devon, PL4 0QP
Type: Part Time


(18+) We are looking for volunteers who want to volunteer with our Befriending Scheme in Plymouth. You will be a very positive influence in an older person’s day and help to bring a smile to their face.

Our core activity is providing friendship to older people who are socially isolated and vulnerable. Befriender volunteers can get involved in a variety of tasks, which could include supporting any of the following:

- Lunch and Supper Clubs
- Coffee and Advice ‘Drop Ins’
- Access to Silver Surfer IT Classes
- Exercise and Movement Classes
- Tai Chi Classes
- Cardio Fitness Classes
- Singing Groups
- Active Minds Activities

Each client/volunteer relationship is assessed and boundaries of your role will be agreed upon before we assign you to an individual client or one of our weekly clubs/groups. Volunteers usually give a couple of hours of their time a week. An enhanced DBS check is required to volunteer with our Befriending Scheme.

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Organisation Description

The Elder Tree supports vulnerable and socially isolated older people in Plymouth. We promote and enable their continued independent living and provide weekly access to 37 clubs and activities across the city. Our main efforts are concentrated in areas of recognised social deprivation and are delivered in partnership with statutory and voluntary and community sector partners. The majority of our activities are offered at either minimal or no cost. We have over 420 beneficiaries who are supported by a small part time salaried staff and 55 volunteers. The service is an innovative partnership with and is partly funded by Plymouth City Council. The key to its success is that it is locally based.

Our Core Activity is 'One to One' Befriending now in its 17th year. We currently support 35 of our more socially isolated and vulnerable beneficiaries in their homes. Our Befrienders are predominately volunteers all of which have received comprehensive training and are DBS checked.

The Second Element is Promoting and Maintaining Social Independence. This is delivered through a series of weekly lunch and supper clubs that are held at various locations across the city. There are also regular coach and mini bus trips around the region.

The Third Element is Active Minds. Weekly quizzes and craft events, reminiscence sessions, two community choirs, a unique 'access to the theatre' club and IT Classes providing mental stimulation and companionship.

The Fourth Element is Active Steps. This is a low impact programme of physical activity that is delivered in various locations across the city - the sessions also incorporate a 'drop in' element where one of our project workers is on hand to provide advice and information across a wide range of issues. Active Steps includes 17 exercise and movement classes - we deliver separate classes for the more able and classes that are designed specifically for armchair/wheelchair beneficiaries, 4 Tai Chi classes, weekly access to swimming and a cardio fit class. The programme has expanded rapidly over the past 15 months and we have 250+ over 60s who take part in at least one hour low impact exercise a week. The mix of social engagement, advice and signposting and light exercise contributes significantly to improving the self-esteem and promoting the continued independent living of our beneficiaries. This has also been a catalyst in many cases to new and supportive friendships and the recruitment of volunteers for our charity.

The Fifth Element is Active Volunteering. This is at the core and drives everything the charity does. Our volunteers support us in various ways.


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Cause / Interests

  • Elderly

Types of Activity

  • Befriending and Buddying
  • General and Helping
  • Mentoring

Skills and Qualifications

Additional/Specific Suitabilities

Minimum Age: 18
Maximum Age: NA
Disabled Access: Yes
Wheelchair Access: No
Expenses: Yes
Restrictions: NA
Induction: Yes
Insurance Cover: Yes
Special Needs: No
Offer: Yes
Training: Induction provided
Other: Please Note: A DBS check is required for this role which will be paid for by the organisation. Please contact the volunteer co-ordinator by telephone/email or both.

Recruitment Method

Application form, DBS Check, Informal discussion, Trial Period