Womankind, Bristol Women’s Therapy Centre
Womankind is recruiting reliable and resilient women to join our Volunteer Befriending Service, able to commit to 2-3 daytime hours each week for one year. Befrienders encourage and support vulnerable women to become more independent, empowering them to make their own decisions, find new hobbies and get involved in their local community. This is an in person service working with service users who live in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.
Befrienders receive 3 in person taught sessions of comprehensive training over 3 Saturdays plus additional home study between sessions. Our training comes with over 30 years of experience working in women’s mental health, giving volunteers the very best preparation for the role, and a support network of like-minded women.
Upon the completion of training, each volunteer is matched with one women who has experienced childhood abuse, trauma, sexual violence and/or domestic abuse, and will be experiencing mental ill health and social isolation.
As a befriender you would be expected to commit to 2-3 hours on a weekly basis for one year and attend monthly group and individual supervision.
You and your befriendee would start by getting to know each other and gradually, getting out and about. As the relationship develops, you would support and empower her to make changes and develop her confidence in doing everyday things such as getting the bus, joining a class or finding a new hobby.
You would also support her emotionally, using active listening skills and providing her with the space to discuss the issues she is struggling with and be expected to demonstrate a healthy and boundaried relationship.
You will be enthusiastic and interested in helping another women improve her mental health and wellbeing, be honest and friendly with good communication skills, confident in social situations, non-judgmental, reliable, patient and a good listener.
The befriending role can be challenging and emotionally overwhelming at times, therefore we need befrienders who have adequate life experience and feel emotionally robust and resilient enough to take on the role. We welcome volunteers with personal experience of mental health and other relevant issues but will require you to have at least a one year period of stability and ideally to have received professional help like counselling in your recovery.
Please note, there is very limited availability for women who can only volunteer during the evenings and weekends.
Because of the nature of the role it is only open to women applicants and is exempt under Schedule 9 Part 1 Equalities Act 2010.
At Womankind we recognise that while women share many characteristics and experiences as a result of living within a patriarchal society, women belonging to marginalised groups experience discrimination on multiple fronts. It is really important to us that the women who use our services feel represented amongst our volunteers. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds and walks of life, especially from groups which are marginalised and underrepresented in our organisation, such as working class women and Black and Minoritised women.
What Past Befrienders Say:
“Through doing the befriending training, I have been able to broaden my knowledge of mental health services in the Bristol area, inspiring my future ambitions.”
“The training has given me the toolkit I need to be a good listener and to motivate my befriendee to live her best life and move on from her past. I can’t recommend Womankind enough!”
“Womankind is doing amazing and essential work for women and I am incredibly proud to have the opportunity to be involved.”
How to apply:
Please visit our website to fill in our online application form: https://www.womankindbristol.org.uk/befriending-volunteer/