What is Befriending?

Sleepy baby

What is Befriending?

Befriending gives families a supportive, reliable relationship with a volunteer.

We are a befriending service for families with young children who are under stress or experiencing difficulties. We work in Edinburgh and Midlothian. We'll match each family with a volunteer who will visit the family every week for two hours to offer emotional and practical support in the family's home. The reliable, undemanding support of a Befriender can make a real difference to the whole family. Click here for a video of families and befrienders

Am I eligible?

If you have at least one child of pre-school age or are expecting a baby and live in Edinburgh or Midlothian, you could benefit from the support of a Home Link Family Support Befriender.

The service is free!

What will a befriender do?

Befrienders usually visit a family each week for a couple of hours. They are carefully screened, selected and trained by Home Link Family Support and both Befrienders and families receive ongoing support from our Co-ordinators.

The Co-ordinators will ask you about the kind of help you need. Befrienders can help you in a number of ways:

  • Provide a listening ear
  • Let you discuss any problems in confidence
  • Help you find your feet if you are new to the area
  • Help you or your family get out and about
  • Give you practical help with the children e.g. at meal times, homework
  • Help you to find out about other local services
  • Spend time with your children to give you a break
  • Help you and your child to have fun with reading and playing

Befrienders usually visit a family once a week for about a year. During this time the Co-ordinator is in regular contact with both the volunteer and the family to make sure they are happy with the way everything is going. You can ask for your Befriender to stop visiting at any stage.

Who are these Befrienders?

Our Befrienders are volunteers of all ages who come from all walks of life. They have chosen to volunteer because they want to help a young family going through a difficult time. They have all undergone our screening process which includes providing references, being police checked and completing our volunteer training course. Befrienders also receive ongoing support from project workers while they are befriending.

How do I get a Befriender?

You can contact us direct, or ask your Health Visitor, Doctor or any professional you work with to make a referral. We will do our best to help you as soon as we can but sometimes there is a waiting list.

Call us or email us

General enquiries    Email Sheena Smith or call 0131 661 0890 or click for Referral Form

Antenatal Service: Helen Gault

Midlothian Young Parents' Service: Rachel Almeida

Volunteer to Befriend more info