Become a Marmalade Companion.
A huge thank you to everyone that has applied to become a Marmalade Companion. The project has now started and we are no longer accepting Companion applications. But don't go away! We'd be thrilled to have you for another project, so make sure you sign up to our newsletter and follow us on socials to hear about more opportunities.
Are you empathetic and good at talking on the phone? We are seeking more volunteers. Just 30-60 minutes of your time each week could make the world of difference to someone on their own.
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.
1. We are accepting applications until midnight Friday 11th March 2022.
2. Training session 1:
14th March 12-1.30pm*
3. Training session 2:
23rd March 12-1pm or 8-9pm*
4. Project ends: 26th June 2022
*Alternative training dates can be arranged if you are unable to make these dates.
"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."
What is needed to apply?
We're looking for people who have excellent listening skills and enjoy a good phone call. You'll need to be able to show your companion respect, patience, empathy and understanding. It's essential that you:
Are over 18 and based in the UK.
Have an up-to-date enhanced DBS certificate or willing to complete a DBS check (Marmalade Trust take care of this for you at no cost). If you live locally we can verify your identity in person as part of the DBS check. If you're further afield, we'll chat to you about the best way to do an identity check.
Provide two short character references (from a family friend, church group, past or current employer etc).
Can commit to making a 30-minute call at an agreed time each week over an approx. 15-week period
Attend two online training sessions (covering safeguarding, confidentiality and how to signpost).
You'll also need 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 at an agreed time.
A good communicator – you may have to have some difficult conversations with members.
How will I be trained and supported?
We have a dedicated Companions Project Volunteer Co-ordinator to help and support you through the process.
As soon as you apply you'll receive a welcome email explaining next steps - you'll be guided through a DBS check and providing character references and invited to training dates for the two sessions.
You'll receive a Volunteer Handbook featuring information about the role, details about the weekly calls, reporting, top tips and FAQ.
The first online training session will provide:
an introduction to the role
information on how to prepare for making calls (building rapport through active listening and setting the boundaries of the role)
how to report back
safeguarding and maintaining confidentiality.
The second online training session covers signposting, specifically looking at:
how to empower and signpost users into social connection
where to find signposting opportunities.
"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
Induction training and matching: Mid-March 2022
Attend the induction training on 14th March 12 - 1.30pm. This covers what to expect, safeguarding, confidentiality and data protection.
Once all checks are completed and you have attended the first training you will be asked to sign a volunteer agreement.
You'll find out the name and contact details of the member you're matched with. You can then call them to introduce yourself and pre-arrange a time to speak.
Start your weekly chats by building rapport, trust and finding out about your members interests.
How to apply
The application process is open! The closing date for applications is midnight on Friday 11th March 2022.
Please complete the application form below and we'll get back to you as soon as possible. Your patience is appreciated as we are a small team.
If you have any queries at all about the role of a Companion Volunteer please contact Helen Ker-Bridges, our Volunteer Coordinator who will be happy to help.
Helen Ker Bridges, Companions Volunteer Co-ordinator
Tel: 07566 244 788