Thank you for volunteering to help families and their little ones.
We know how much our Befrienders mean to mums and carers. How? Because they've been telling us:
"Having a reason to come out, not just about baby things, but meeting up with another adult and integrating the children at the same time, opened doors." Michelle, local Mum.
By introducing them to Lambeth early years services, you're making a real difference to them and their children's lives.
Local parents developed our Befrienders scheme in 2019.
They wanted to support isolated mums/carers by helping them to engage with Lambeth early years services, such as children centres and LEAP activities.
You'll be supporting parents in lots of helpful ways:
It's also important to know what your limits are — for everyone's health and wellbeing.
We don't expect you to:
When a professional identifies a parent who feels isolated, they will:
Examples of referring professionals are midwives, health visitors, and the Better Start workers at children's centres.
If the parent would like a Befriender, the professional will help them fill in a referral form and send it to the Parent Champion Team.
The Befriending Coordinator will contact you when they match you with a parent.
You will discuss the type of support the parent will need — and if you feel you can offer that support.
If you are comfortable with the match, we will give you the following information:
Your first contact with your Befriendee will be a gentle introduciton where you get to know each other.
It's useful to introduce yourself as their ‘Parent Champion Befriender’.
Start by explaining the role to them:
Think about how you will introduce yourself. You could talk about:
What questions will you ask them?
Ask if they have any questions about Befriending, or yourself.
What are the next steps? Next contact? is there any information you can send them straight away?
Together with the parent, and your Coordinator, you will reflect on the best services and activities for the family.
Some parents will need encouragement and support to attend early years activities and services:
Always talk to your Coordinator if your Befriendee needs emergency support or if you have a safeguarding concern.
Find examples of emergency support on our website.
A Befriending relationship usually lasts around 3 months. It's good to talk about this with your Befriendee at the beginning of your relationship.
The Befriending ends when they feel comfortable attending early years activities you have jointly selected.
It's important to plan the ending with your Coordinator. Give your Befriendee as much notice as possible, ideally 1 month.
Use your coordinator as a source of support and information to discuss anything related to the Befriending.
You can expect:
You can also call, email, text or Whatsapp your Coordinator any time during the working week.
If you have any concerns related to the parent or their child, please discuss them with your Coordinator.
If your concern is about safeguarding, you must contact your Coordinator immediately.
Parents eligible for Befriending are often isolated and vulnerable. Having a Befriender means a lot to them.
Before taking on this responsibility, please make sure you can commit to:
Thank you again for making such a wonderful commitment.
The Parent Champion Team.