In Home Support

Companionship Visit 

A Companionship Visit will support people to reconnect with their hobbies and pastimes and help to improve their mental wellbeing and resilience within their home.

You will need to discuss with the person requiring support what their interests are and how you can support them to participate in these.  

The volunteer support for this activity is available either as a one-off or once a week for a maximum of 6 weeks and will take place in the person’s home for a maximum of 2 hours. 

Volunteers will make a difference by supporting people to participate in activities within their home, but will not replace the work of paid carers or carry out any personal care i.e. supporting people to the toilet, feeding, getting dressed etc.   

You are not permitted to take the person out of their home in this activity. 

If you are not available for the 6 weeks continuously or at a mutually agreeable time, you can reject an alert and this support will pass all remaining alerts within the original 6-week period onto the next available volunteer.  

When calling a person to discuss the support required, be mindful that they may have received support from a different volunteer in previous weeks. You should also let the person you are supporting know if you will not be completing any remaining tasks so that they are aware another volunteer will be contacting them. 

Getting started 

Before your first task 

  1. Please read the lone working guide. It is really important that you familiarise yourself with this process as all volunteers participating in Companionship Visits must follow this process.  
  2. Please also read the information for entering someone’s home guide, this is to ensure your safety whilst carrying out this volunteering activity.  
  3. If you are calling a person you are supporting, ensure you withhold your number. This is to protect you from unsolicited calls and to ensure safeguarding procedures are followed. You can do this by dialling 141 for Android or #31# for Apple before the person's number or go into your phone's settings. Do not click on the phone number within the task information without editing. You can read more about data Protection and confidentiality as well as safeguarding. 
  4. It is important to uphold the confidentiality of the person at all times. You may receive/hear personal information or details through conversations. All forms of personal information must be treated with respect and be handled in a highly confidential way. Think about how you safely store contact details, do not leave these in a place that other people can access. If you are able to lock these away in a safe place, please do so. Once the task is completed destroy this information, please ensure it is shredded in a confidential manner.  
  5. It is possible that the person you are supporting may ask you to purchase something for an activity such as, ingredients for baking, on their behalf. You are not permitted to take a person’s bank card to a cashpoint to withdraw money on their behalf or pay for shopping contactless or by pin payments. You are only permitted to use the cash access scheme and must follow the payment guidance.  

Activity specific tips 

Call the person and introduce yourself as a Volunteer Responder and let them know that they have been referred into the programme by a health professional. Inform them that you will be supporting them either as a one-off or as part of the 6-week period. 

The person requiring support may want you to support them with their hobbies e.g. playing board games, reading, baking, gardening and enjoy a friendly chat whilst doing so. Be prepared to spend a couple of hours offering your time to support them.  

The referral should give you an idea of the support that is required, but if you feel their needs don’t match your interests after the initial conversation, be honest with the person and tell them that you will pass the task onto another volunteer. 

You may need to use your mobile phone to look up information and you may want to suggest that the person you are supporting does this on their device as well if applicable, for example if you are showing them how to make a video call to a family member. We recommend that you do not hand over your phone at any point.  

Once you have agreed how you can support them discuss what date and time will work best each week, only taking instruction from the person named on the referral. You may decide to call every week and check requirements or agree a set day and time to support. 

If there was any information on the task that you would like to clarify it is best to do this before your first visit. The person making the request for support should have included details such as if there are any pets in the home, if anyone else will be there, do they smoke etc. If this information is not included and you have any concerns i.e. you are allergic to pet hair you can ask the person during your first call. If you are unable to support due to this information, please let the person know you will contact our Support Team who can arrange for another volunteer to attend. 

Remember if you are supporting in the home you can attend for a maximum period of 2 hours. Your first visit may be shorter as you get to know the person you are supporting and what they hope to get out of your time together. 

If you are purchasing ingredients for a baking activity please ensure you check if the person has any dietary requirements or specific requests. 

Checking in with the person you are supporting at each visit about how they are feeling and what they would like to do in future sessions is a good way to get the most out of your time together and help to manage expectations. 

If you have contacted the person to arrange a visit and feel unwell, please cancel your visit by letting the person know and ringing our support team, they may be able to arrange for another volunteer to attend. It is really important you do not attend if feeling unwell as the person may have a weakened immune system. 

The safety and wellbeing of our volunteers and the people we support is top priority to us, so when you are visiting a person in their home, we want to make sure you remain safe. If you feel that someone may be unsafe in their home please contact the Support Team. 

If you experience any difficulties while you’re volunteering or face any circumstances which make you feel uncomfortable, we are here to support you. Please call the Support Team on 0808 196 3382. All concerns will be handled sensitively, and we will work with you to ensure a safe and positive volunteering experience.    

Potential questions you may be asked 

Can we go out to a social club/event? 

Please advise the person you are unable to take them out of their home. If they are interested in volunteer support to help with this, advise them to contact the support team to discuss this further. 

See other Potential questions you may be asked.

Skills Bank 

We have a selection of resources in the Skills Bank that may help you with your volunteering. We have linked to the resources that we think would support you with this activity, take some time to look through them to build your confidence. 

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Page last reviewed: 16 May 2024