Westminster Befriend a Family (WBAF) is a family befriending organisation working with families in Westminster. WBAF focuses on working with the whole family in a holistic manner to enable positive changes in social interaction in and outside the family and more awareness of community organisations via appropriate signposting.
Trained and supervised volunteer Family Befrienders work weekly for 2-3 hours with a family for six months, up to a maximum of one year.
What families can we work with?
- We work with vulnerable, socially isolated and economically disadvantaged families who have children in the 0-18 age range, though at least one child should be over 5 years old. We don’t usually work with families where all children are over 16 years of age.
- We cannot work with a family where an adult member is resistant to a volunteer being involved
- All families need to be resident in the Borough of Westminster
Who can refer?
We accept referrals from any agency which knows a family and feels that they would benefit from our service, e.g. GP’s, Health Visitors, other health workers, Social Services, Community Agencies and the Police. There is no charge for our service. We ask for a written referral form to be completed and the WBAF Family Befriending Co-ordinator will then contact the referrer to discuss the referral and the family’s needs.
After a referral is received:
- The Befriending Co-ordinator reviews the referral and contacts referrer if necessary.
- Befriending Co-ordinator then conducts an assessment with family.
- If appropriate, the family is matched with a suitable Family Befriender.
- Befriending Co-ordinator visits family with Family Befriender.
- Befriender then begins weekly visits to family and follows a work plan that is determined by befriender and family members.
- After six months, a review is held with Befriender, Co-ordinator and family. Future plans are made at this visit with regard to sessions ending or continuing for up to six additional months based on requirement.
- If the befriending stops after the 6 month review the family is signposted to any additional support services and the referrer is informed that the befriending has ceased.
- If the befriending continues for an additional six months a final review is held at the end of the period with the befriender, family and befriending co-ordinator.
- At the end of the befriending referrer is informed .
What befrienders offer?
- Befrienders develop a trusting and compassionate relationship with the family.
- Befrienders offer a non-judgemental, listening ear and work within defined guidelines.
- Befrienders help break down isolation by spending time with the family and supporting them in finding out about local opportunities.
- Befrienders may share and develop common interests, such as cooking with a parent, and spending time with the children.
- Befrienders may be able to accompany parents to appointments to offer support when appropriate.
- Befrienders may spend time with an individual child in play or other activities.
- Befrienders may discuss with parents ways of dealing with:
- Behaviour issues
- Discipline and Boundary setting
- Relationships with other adults and authority figures
- Being a positive role model and mentor
The kinds of help and support available are individually tailored to each family’s needs and wishes. The aim of this intervention is to empower the family to make positive choices in parenting and lifestyle issues.
For more information, please downalod the Befriending Guide or get in touch.