Volunteers: Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean to be a SBADC volunteer and what does it involve?

By becoming a SBADC volunteer you are offering your spare time to help someone who is isolated, vulnerable and in need of some help. It means you can learn new skills, become more involved in your community, make friends and enjoy the simplicity of helping others. It will involve offering a service (or services) to clients at a time and date to suit you both; we will try and be as flexible as possible so if you can’t commit to regular visits just let us know and we’ll find something to suit you. The services we currently offer are befriending, transport to local activities or health appointments, prescription collection, carer’s support, light gardening, shopping, help with form filling or applications, basic DIY and digital support. To find out more about the services we offer click here.

How do I become a volunteer?

It’s easy, you can call us on 01364 700282, e-mail us at info@sbadc.org.uk or you can visit our office and we can begin discussing which services you want to provide. Once we have your details, references and completed a DBS check, we will match you with a suitable client or activities.  For most roles we ask you to complete Safeguarding training and for some roles we need a DBS check.

For befriending you will then have an initial visit with your client, accompanied by the Charity Care Coordinator. This will be a short visit to introduce you and to see if you are compatible. If you are happy to continue your volunteer experience, then you may arrange further visits (to suit you both) and we ask you to complete a diary sheet and check in with you about the visits regularly too. If at any time you no longer feel comfortable visiting your client, please contact Susanne Archard on 01364 700282.

What is a DBS check and why do I need to complete one?

Previously known as a CRB check, a Disclosure and Barring Service check is one carried out by the Criminal Records Bureau and the Independent Safeguarding Authority, to ensure the protection of vulnerable people. Some of our volunteer roles meet the requirements in respect of exempted questions under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, so all applicants who are offered one of these volunteering roles will be subject to a DBS check before starting to volunteer. A DBS includes details of cautions, reprimands or final warnings as well as convictions. Please note a criminal record will not necessarily be a bar to volunteering with us. Disclosure information will not be used unfairly. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 makes it illegal for an organisation to discriminate against an ex-offender on the grounds of a spent conviction, however in order to protect certain vulnerable groups within society, there are a large number of posts and professions that are exempt from this Act; including those involving access to older or vulnerable people. 

What is a diary sheet and why do I need to complete one?

A diary sheet is an informal communication tool used by befriending/visiting volunteers to record your time with your client. It can be as detailed as you like, although we ask for a minimum of the date of your visit, the activity or activities (e.g. gardening or gardening/transport), your name and your clients initials. There is a section for you to write more if you want to, reflecting on your client and how they are. This can be a time to note any health deterioration, changes in mobility or their emotional state. Obviously if you have any major concerns that do not warrant a 999 call, please contact Susanne Archard in the first instance. It is important that we record this information so that we can monitor our clients, and also so that we can record all the services we provide to see which are in demand where greater support may be needed.

Running out of diary sheets?: Diary Sheet

Can I share my contact details with clients?

We ask that you do not share your details with clients, however you will be given the client’s contact number but please dial 141 prior to their number so that you withhold your number. If a client needs to contact you, they should do this through our office. If the client does manage to obtain your number, let our office know and we can liaise with the client to resolve this.

Should I accept gifts from clients?

We ask that you do not accept gifts from clients, however you can suggest that they make a donation to South Brent and District Caring, which you can hand to our office on their behalf with their consent.

I want to help but I’ve never done this before, will I receive training?

Yes you will receive training, but first we have to complete your DBS check and interview with the Charity Care Coordinator. You will receive a Volunteer Handbook which will cover boundaries with clients, confidentiality, safety procedures and general conduct. If at any point you have any queries or questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Charity Care Coordinator on 01364 700282 or e-mail us at info@sbadc.org.uk.

Note to volunteers:

Often we will send volunteers requests for transport or short-term or one-off client help, such as gardening for a week while their regular gardener is away. Do not feel guilty if you are unable to fulfil the request! We understand that our volunteers are generously giving whatever spare time they have, and we do not expect you to meet all requests all the time. We will then send full details to the volunteer who has accepted the request. If you do not normally offer transport, but would like to on any occasion, you will need to contact your insurance company even if it’s a one-off.

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