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Community-made content which you can improve Case study from our community

Matching volunteer befrienders to care home residents

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By taking time to understand the interests of care home residents Voluntary Action Oldham improved its volunteer befriending scheme.


We wanted to work with care home staff to develop a personalised approach to providing volunteers to befriend residents.

The issues we faced

We were having difficulties with volunteer retention and it had been a challenge to match befrienders to the residents.

The actions we took

Care home managers identified residents who wanted long-term befrienders. They developed profiles of residents to understand their interests, background and level of ability.

We created a form for prospective volunteers to complete to ask them about their interests. Using this information, we matched volunteers to residents.

We supported volunteers on their first visit to a resident and encouraged them to research the resident’s interests before this first meeting.

Positive outcomes

As a result of this personalised approach we found care home staff were more confident about the scheme. They knew who to expect on a regular basis, and how residents would be supported. They could plan their time to meet the needs of other residents.

Our recruitment process is now a lot more successful with volunteers staying on long-term and sometimes befriending more than one resident at a time.

Negative outcomes

We realised we needed to offer residents the option to consider volunteer profiles and to decide which volunteer they would like to see. As the scheme is about improving the quality of life of residents it is important residents have an opportunity to choose the volunteer befriender they prefer.

Lessons learnt

Residents had an improved volunteer experience, receiving one-to-one support with someone who shared their interests. Care home staff reported emotional and physical improvements to the wellbeing of residents who met with befrienders. Volunteers have reported feeling happier, more confident and less lonely as a result of volunteering on a one-to-one basis.


Page last edited Jul 24, 2015

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