Become a Marmalade Companion.
Are you empathetic and good at talking on the phone? We are seeking friendly volunteers. Just 30-60 minutes of your time each week could make the world of difference to someone on their own.
After the success of our first Marmalade Companions project, it's returning for 2023 and we're looking for kind and caring volunteers to support our befriending and signposting project.
The Companions Project at a glance
What is it about?
Marmalade Trust is the leading loneliness charity in the UK. This companion project matches a volunteer with someone experiencing loneliness.
The project aim is to help our members build long term & meaningful social connections in their communities.
Why we run this project
1. Some members have barely left their homes since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
2. Many are feeling concerned about engaging with people again and need support to build their confidence.
3. Loneliness can have a negative impact on health and wellbeing.
What does it involve?
1. A weekly telephone call to bring companionship and joy, build confidence and trust post-pandemic.
2. Signpost your member to social opportunities in their area, perhaps rekindling old hobbies, learning new skills or becoming more active.
The application process
1. Fill in the application form
2. We review for suitability (e.g. 18+, UK-based)
3. We verify your identity and arrange a DBS check if needed (free of charge)
4. You provide 2 character references
5. Successful applicants are informed and matched up with a member.
Our members in the Bristol, North Somerset and South Glos regions, who all experience loneliness and/or isolation
You! Previous volunteers say the project is highly rewarding and gives them a great sense of purpose.
Updates on key dates coming soon!
These will include an information session so you can find out more about the role before you apply, and two training sessions to help equip you for your role.
What is a Marmalade Companion?
As a Marmalade Companion Volunteer, you will support one or two of our members (the people we support) from January/February to June 2023. The role involves phoning a matched member once a week for a friendly call lasting about 30 minutes and also researching potential social connection and activity opportunities to discuss with your member.
You will receive training on how to build up a trusted telephone relationship with your member(s) to enable you to support and signpost them to relevant services and activities. The aim of this project is to help reduce social isolation and loneliness and to support your member(s) to discover lasting connections in their community.
"I'm always so grateful when the phone rings! I never leave the house and I have no family, so life is the same day in and day out. Our cheerful conversations brighten my day and give me something to look forward to."
Who are Marmalade Members?
Our Marmalade members vary in age and ability, but all experience social isolation and/or loneliness. Many of our members are of an older age, and, as such, may have health problems or limited mobility, impacting on their ability to go outside. They will also have very different interests and needs in terms of the social connections and types of activities they would like to be involved in to help them feel less lonely.
To be a Marmalade Companion, you must:
Be over 18
Be happy to have an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) for vulnerable adults check (we can accept an existing check if within 2 years and in an equivalent role) and complete a photo ID check
Be able to give two suitable references for a reference check*
Be able to speak to a member once per week for approximately 30 minutes (at an agreed time) over a 15 to 20-week period
Be able to spend some time looking online / researching potential ideas to signpost your member to
Be able to attend two online training sessions – one in January 2023 to introduce you to the role and provide safeguarding and confidentiality guidance. The second training session will be held in March 2022 on signposting.
Based in the Southwest of England - this is desirable not essential.
*Please note, references must not be from a relative - references should ideally be from a current or past employer or someone you have volunteered with previously.
Please note, this role will need you to be:
Friendly and respectful - you may be the only person the member is in contact with so a kind and understanding approach would be welcome.
A good listener - members may share personal details about their lives. An empathetic approach, and the ability to help people identify their own needs by listening to what they are telling you is really important.
Reliable - it is important to build a relationship on trust by contacting the member when you have agreed to do so. We understand this may not always be possible, but procedure should be followed to avoid this.
A good communicator - you may have to have some difficult conversations with members so strong communication skills are important.
Complete a DBS and photo ID check
Attend a virtual training on what to expect, safeguarding, confidentiality and data protection
You will also be informed of your member’s name and contact details. You can then call them to introduce yourself and discuss when you will have your weekly telephone conversations
Telephone your member at least once a week for a chat. Pre-arrange a time the week before, so that your member knows when to expect your call.
Complete Marmalade Trust forms with your member around current barriers to social connections and to start capturing their ideas
What we offer
You will be part of a project to connect people with their communities and make a difference to the lives of older people in Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire
You will develop new skills through our training
A volunteer guide will be provided which will include full details of the role and guidance on telephone companionship, safeguarding and health and safety
You will be a valued part of our Marmalade family.
How to apply
If you meet the essential criteria above and would like to volunteer with us, please complete the volunteer form by 15 November 2022.
If you have any queries about the role please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Helen Ker-Bridges, on the email or phone number below.
Email: email@example.com | Phone: 07942 359343
Once your application has been received, we will aim to contact you within 14 days to confirm availability and discuss your role. Your patience is appreciated as we are a small team.
"It feels great to know I am making a difference and bringing a smile to my companion's face, especially when they wouldn't otherwise have spoken to anyone. I genuinely enjoy and look forward to my calls. It doesn't feel like volunteering at all!"
Companion volunteer, 2021