Become a Befriender.

Befriending is our multi-award winning 6-to-9-month weekly support programme, recognised by NHS England’s National Integrated Personal Commissioning Team, where we match a service user with one of our highly trained and supervised befrienders. It is one of our most beloved services, available to anyone affected by an eating disorder (also supporting carers’, families and friends of anyone struggling with an eating disorder.)

Many of our Befrienders have a lived experience, with an empathetic and knowledgeable approach to the challenges you are facing at the moment. They ‘get it’ and understand the intensity of an eating disorder, whether you yourself are struggling or you’re caring for a loved one. The service has been, and continues to be, a lifeline during those difficult times.

Could it be you?

If you have a good knowledge of eating disorders and disordered eating, and a genuine care and passion to support those affected, then we would love to hear from you.

Of course! We have a variety of volunteers with many different experiences and backgrounds. Some have lived experience, some have been a carer/support for a loved one, and some have in-depth academic knowledge through their university course. We also provide extensive training in the form of various CPD and online modules to equip you with the necessary skills.

Yes! We have many befrienders who work full time and various shift patterns. Befriending can be really flexible to suit you, especially if you opt to support service users over email. All we ask is that you ensure to check your emails within the usual office hours on the day you agree to respond(9am-5pm, Monday to Friday), to ensure any safeguarding issues are responded to promptly, and you are then able to send your response until 9pm that evening.

Commitment can vary depending on what you want from the role. The minimum we expect is that you would support one service user with one email or video call per week. As we offer this service for up to 9 months, this would be the minimum length we would require you to support our charity. Per week, this means we require one hour, as well as our mandatory monthly supervision for up to an additional one hour per month.

Recovery looks different for everyone and your wellbeing comes first. We want to ensure that we are looking after our volunteers as well as our service users. Because of this, we generally ask that you have been in a good place in your recovery for around 1 year. If you’re unsure, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your specific circumstances and we can discuss whether it may be suitable for you. Difficult topics are discussed throughout the befriending relationship and we want to ensure that you are in a place to be able to offer this form of support, without making your own recovery more difficult.

Once you’re signed up…

After taking part in our in-depth induction process, you will be matched with a service user (befriendee) based on a variety of different factors, such as age, interests, lived experience etc. Once you have confirmed that you would like to support this befriendee, we contact them to inform them of the match and when to expect your first email, or how to arrange your first call. We then provide you with your contract, which includes your start and end dates, that you attach in your first introductory email. You will agree with your befriendee which day/s you will send your responses to them or have your calls, and you then maintain this for up to the full 9 months. The first few weeks is often spent getting to know each other to build up that rapport and trust. You will then support them in a variety of ways, adapting your approach to their needs. Topics often include: body image, distraction techniques and being a general sounding board
You, of course, are able to take the equivalent of annual leave throughout that time, all we ask is that you give your befriendee adequate notice.

Absolutely! We have an extensive training schedule to ensure you are fully equipped to work with our service users experiencing a range of different eating disorder presentations. We provide specific Befriending Training with our Befriending Service Coordinator and Volunteer Coordinator before beginning the role. We also provide fully accredited CPD modules, fully funded for our volunteers, with a range of topics such as “All Ages, All Genders”, “Nutrition and Mood”, “Body Image” and “Boys and Men”. Not only this, we also provide access to mandatory online Safeguarding for Children and Adults courses and GDPR modules.

The befriending service is the largest service within the charity and runs across all other services, supporting our Children and Young People’s service (CYP), our Eating Disorders in Student Services (EDISS) and our adult services. That means that we have the potential to support anyone of any age affected by disordered eating or an eating disorder.

Click here to apply!

Here’s the latest blogs…

Here you’ll find service updates and announcements about befriending, as well as personal stories and other features from our community. For more stories and discussion visit our blog page. If you’re a befriender or a befriendee and want to share your story we’d love to hear from you.