Volunteer Befriender

Ups and Downs Southwest

Name: Volunteer Befriender
Organisation: Ups and Downs Southwest
Location: Somerset
Type: Part Time
The above location will be for the 6 week foundation course only. Once a full volunteer befriender, you will support families within your own geographical location in the families own home. 3-4 hours per week with a minimum commitment of 1 year.


Do you have a child or young person who has Down Syndrome?
Do you live in North Somerset of Bristol?
Can you spare 2-3 hours a week to support another family?
Become a Volunteer Befriender.

Often the most valuable and powerful support for parents is time spent with other parents who carry the lived experience of raising a child who has Down Syndrome. Time to talk through the challenges and to share the successes with someone who really understands, can build confidence, reduce isolation and increase parental self-esteem. If this resonates with you and you can spare a few hours week, the role of volunteer befriender could provide the perfect volunteering experience for you.

You will provide emotional support and practical help to parents who have a child or young person with Down Syndrome.

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Organisation Description

A Down Syndrome charity supporting families, professionals and all those involved in the care and education of children and young people who have Down Syndrome. We cover Devon, Dorset, Somerset, North Somerset, Wiltshire and Bristol.


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Cause / Interests

  • Children
  • Disability
  • Families
  • Mental Health

Types of Activity

  • Advice, Information and Support
  • Befriending and Buddying

Skills and Qualifications


What we are looking for
Ups and Downs Southwest Volunteer Befrienders should:
Have a child who has Down Syndrome (similar conditions/experience will be considered)
Have a positive attitude to working with people of any gender, family status, sexual identity, any ethnic origin, culture or religion and all disabilities
Demonstrate a sensitive and caring attitude towards others
Have a non-judgemental attitude
Be clear about confidentiality and when a confidence remains so, but be able to decide when disclosure of a confidence is essential to the well-being of a child
Understand the importance of reliability
Have good communication skills including an ability to listen
Understand the need for support
Have a warm and open personality and a sense of humour
Have time and enthusiasm for Ups and Downs Southwest
Be able to work as a member of a team
Be prepared to keep records as requested by the service


Valuable, hands on experience in family support work
Increased confidence in own skills and abilities
Ongoing training and personal development opportunities

Additional/Specific Suitabilities

Minimum Age: 18
Maximum Age: NA
Disabled Access: Yes
Wheelchair Access: Yes
Expenses: Yes
Restrictions: Must have a child with Down Syndrome or similar dignosis
Induction: Yes
Insurance Cover: Yes
Special Needs: Yes
Offer: Yes
Training: Yes
Other: NA

Recruitment Method

Application form, DBS Check, Informal discussion, References