The value of volunteering

Jan Prisic has been volunteering with the former Broomhouse Elderly Befriending Service, now part of Vintage Vibes, since 2014. She tells us why she got involved and how she makes a difference.

Get in touch: hello@vintagevibes.org.uk


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Frequently Asked Questions

Click on a question to reveal the answer.

Q: How do I start volunteering?

A: Firstly, have a think about what you can offer: how much time can you realistically give up each week? Would you like to visit on a one-to-one basis, or take someone out and about? Could you lead a friendship group, or even start up an activity group that you think would appeal to those over 60?

Q: How old do I have to be?

A: We’re looking for anyone between 17 and, well . . . the sky’s the limit!

Q: What time commitment is required?

A: The key aim of Vintage Vibes is to offer long-lasting friendships and create sustainable networks for people who are isolated and/or lonely. So we’re asking our volunteers to commit to a minimum of six months, and ask that they be able to take part at least once a week for an hour or two.

Q: How do you decide who I’ll be spending time with?

A: We’ll ask you about your interests and general likes, and how you think you might be able to help. Do you have a dog, for example, who could come with you on visits? Or perhaps you’re sporty and could help someone keep active, or reminisce about sport with them. Whatever you have to offer, we want to help match you with someone with shared interests and experiences.

Q: Will I be assessed?

A: We will do a brief assessment at your initial meeting, followed by a formal interview and a request for references. Vintage Vibes will apply for all successful candidates to join the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme. This is a lifelong membership scheme and is free to join if you volunteer through us. If you are an existing member of PVG, we will carry out routine checks and assessments.

Q: How long does the process take?

A: A PVG application can take up to eight weeks to be processed and we can’t match you until it has been approved. In the meantime, however, we’ll put on training and the chance to get together and meet other volunteers who have signed up with Vintage Vibes.

Q: Is there training and ongoing support available?

A: Absolutely! Volunteers are the cornerstone of Vintage Vibes, so we’re committed to ensuring you’re valued and supported. The initial training is three sessions over a few weeks with our service co-ordinators Heather and Emily. They cover topics such as expectations, confidentiality, attitudes, values and boundaries, as well as some general dementia awareness raising. Once you’re up and running as a volunteer, there will be ongoing reviews, meetings and the chance to get together with other volunteers for further training and professional development.

Q: Will it cost me anything?

A: There is no charge for joining Vintage Vibes as a volunteer. We are also happy to reimburse you for reasonable expenses incurred during volunteering, for example, attending an event or travel costs.

Get in touch: hello@vintagevibes.org.uk

Is This You?

We’re looking for volunteers from a wide variety of backgrounds, circumstances and age groups. We welcome everyone who wants to help our Vibes VIPs, and are particularly interested in the following:

  • Students: If you’re 17 or over, and have some spare time during the week, we’d love to hear from you. Perhaps you’re studying social work or healthcare and want to get some real-life experience in helping people improve their lives.
  • Mature/retired people: If you want to make a valuable contribution and enrich your spare time, Vintage Vibes needs people who share interests with our VIPs, perhaps to accompany them to clubs, groups or activities, or simply get together for a chat.
  • Pet owners: An increasing body of research points to the therapeutic advantages of spending time with animals such as cats and dogs, particularly for older people. We’re looking for volunteers to visit VIPs with their animals, or perhaps take them out when they go dog walking.
  • Families: Many of our VIPs have no family nearby, and their circle of friends is diminishing. We want to encourage families to become volunteers to welcome a VIP into their family life, perhaps inviting them around for Sunday dinner, or going out on regular trips.
  • Parents with young children: Getting the young and not-so-young together offers great benefits for both age groups. If you’re at home with young kids we’d love to match you up with one of our VIPs who enjoys the company of young children.

While no specific skills or experience are required to volunteer with Vintage Vibes, there are a number of key qualities we think are important:

  • Warmth, an ability to engage in friendships;
  • A capacity for empathy and understanding;
  • Good communication/interpersonal skills;
  • A level of self-awareness;
  • An ability to work independently/use initiative and common sense;
  • To be reliable, consistent and dependent;
  • An ability to handle a level of stress.

We also think it’s important that our volunteers:

  • Are non-judgemental towards and respect others beliefs, values and lifestyles;
  • Respect others as being of equal worth; and
  • Appreciate differences in race, gender, sexuality, etc.

Vintage Vibes is particularly interested in being able to offer friendship and support to people who are in minority groups, have mental health issues or suffer from dementia. If these are areas you have experience in, or are interested in helping, we would love to be able to match you up.

Get in touch: hello@vintagevibes.org.uk

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