The Befriender Scheme
What is befriending?
The London Borough of Richmond upon Thames Befriender Scheme is part of the short break care provision for disabled children and young people living in the borough. A social worker from the Social Work Team for Disabled Children must first assess the child and recommend that a referral to the befriender scheme is made. Befrienders help children to join in all sorts of social and recreational activities.
How are befrienders recruited?
Befrienders respond to recruitment campaigns and adverts on the our website. Sometimes a family may know someone who could become a befriender for their child. All applicants must fill in application forms. Suitable candidates are interviewed and Criminal Records Bureau checks and references taken up. Befrienders are employed by the borough.
What happens next?
Once appointed, the befriender is linked to a child. When planning a link, we carefully look at the experience and interests of the befriender and the time they have available. This makes sure that the child or young person is linked to someone they will enjoy being with. A befriender agreement meeting is held at the child's home, organised by the scheme co-ordinator. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss practical issues regarding the link and to ensure that the befriender is fully aware of the needs of the child.
Are befrienders paid?
Befrienders receive an hourly rate of pay. Parents are asked to meet the expenses of befriending activities for both the child and befriender.
Are befrienders trained?
Before they are linked, befrienders receive training appropriate to the child's needs. They are also encouraged to take up further training and support while they are involved with the scheme.
Are befrienders supervised?
Once appointed, befrienders are supported by the scheme's coordinator. They are expected to attend supervision meetings, and their work will be reviewed annually.
How can I find out more?
If you are a parent, carer or disabled child and would like further information about how to access the Befriender Scheme for your child, please contact your social worker or duty social worker in the Disabled Children's Service on 020 8831 6048.
If you do not have a social worker or duty social worker or are unsure, please contact the Single Point of Access on 020 8891 7969 for further advice.
Contact the Short Break Care Team
Windham Croft Centre for children
16 Windham Road
Telephone: 020 8831 6047
Textphone: 020 8831 6049