A befriender is:

 “An informal voluntary relationship that is friendly and non-judgemental. Through listening and human contact, befriending will build community connections.

Programme Background

The Routes to Roots programme is part of Turning Tides’ community response to the impact that homelessness has on peoples’ lives.

Routes to Roots offers an effective and inclusive menu of opportunities for clients to access including; befriending, mentoring, community connection and peer support.

At the heart of Routes to Roots is kindness and companionship, aiming to build connections on a one to one and community level.

Befriending directly involves local people supporting our clients back into the community. The service promotes social inclusion and therefore helps to reduce social isolation and institutionalisation.

Every Befriending relationship has a person centred approach, individually focused to the needs of the client (friend). The relationships are helpful, meaningful and supportive. The mentoring and befriending journey will introduce new people to our clients’ lives.

Role Purpose

A befriender is an individual offering another companionship through a listening ear, a non-judgemental attitude and kindness.

The purpose of the role is to provide support on a one-to-one basis to an individual. To help build confidence and support engagement in social activities.

Volunteer Qualities

  • To have good interpersonal skills which include an approachable manner
  • To have good listening skills
  • To be flexible and adaptable
  • To be patient
  • To be consistent, reliable, trustworthy and honest
  • To be able to maintain boundaries within a befriending relationship.
  • To have a non-judgemental attitude
  • To have empathy
  • To have an ability to deal with stressful and difficult situations in a calm manner
  • To have willingness to help raise self-esteem and confidence through a positive befriending relationship
  • To have a willingness to participate in initial and ongoing training sessions
  • Must be over 18 years of age

Main Duties

  • to meet with your friend on a regular basis ( for approximately one to two hours once a weekly or fortnightly)
  • to be reliable and provide as much warning as possible whenever you are unable to volunteer
  • to communicate with the team leaders and raise any concerns immediately
  • to respect your friend’s right to confidentiality
  • to provide support, encouragement and guidance to the Befriendee in taking part in social, recreational activities.
  • to build a relationship based on trust and companionship
  • to maintain boundaries

Support Offered

Training will be given to support your role and will include; Professional Boundaries, Coproduction, Equalities and Diversity, Safeguarding and other online/reading material will be provided to assist you.

Key contacts will be provided along with a check in/ check out procedure.

Post meeting support will be provided via the phone and email.

Commitment and Timeframe

Due to the nature of this role a commitment for a minimum of 6 months is preferred.

The Befriending Scheme would have no fixed end for the client i.e. it would not automatically end after a certain amount of sessions. However, the support would be reviewed after a six week period to ensure that both parties were satisfied with their friendship, or at any time from the client or Befrienders request.

Expenses Covered

Reasonable expenses can be covered. This can be discussed with the Team Leaders.

Sign Up Process

Application form required with 2x references, Volunteer induction, informal 1:1 discussion and an enhanced DBS

More Information

For more information please contact the Routes to Roots team on:


Phone: 01903 680743


Apply now Contact us



Apply online Download forms


Within local community
Activities/ meet ups to be based locally.


1 or 2 hours, weekly or fortnightly
Group feedback and supervision sessions

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    Support us to make a difference​

    Millions of people in England are only one pay cheque away from being homeless.

    Turning Tides have provided support to thousands of local men and women in West Sussex for almost 30 years.

    We provide a warm, safe space to listen to anyone who comes to us for help. Our support services empower people to find the strength and belief in themselves to create a brighter future.

    Together we can make a difference and end homelessness where you live.