As one of our volunteers, you will provide customers with valuable support and companionship, plus practical assistance where they have not yet developed the skills. We offer a fantastic benefits package for our volunteers, including lunch and travel expenses reimbursed, induction training and the opportunity to follow routes into other volunteering roles or employment.
We have more than 69 volunteers at Look Ahead working across 35 services in London, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Kent.
We are always in need of more volunteers to help in our services. Mainly the role is about befriending someone who could be feeling lonely or vulnerable. It includes sitting and chatting to customers, working on reception in the hostel and sometimes taking customers out for the day or accompanying them to appointments. You only need to commit to a few hours a month, and can choose weekdays, weekends or early evenings.
The most important thing we look for is volunteers who are kind, compassionate and interested in supporting our customers. You may have a background or interest in social work or be studying but equally we would like to meet people with broad life experience, for example teaching, coaching, or general life experience!
This is our training programme for ex-customers or people with lived experience who support the organisation with things like training our staff and raising awareness externally of what we do (for example, some EBE attend new business pitches). The programme is great as it allows the EBE to access training and support which they in turn use to benefit Look Ahead and their own personal development.
This programme allows customers, former customers and people with broad life experience to train to help others who many be struggling with similar issues. Peer mentors spend time in services and help with things like life skills training, taking people to appointments or generally just having a chat with customers.
We look for people who are able to use their experiences of using care and support services at Look Ahead or elsewhere to enhance the experiences of others. Quality checkers visit Look Ahead services for Quality audit visits once a week, speaking to customers and staff along with the other auditors or on their own, and feeding back to the quality team. They also sometimes work at central services helping to develop other tools for improving the experience of customers on the Quality visit days.
We currently have 50 final-year psychotherapy and counselling students working in our services, building up work in placement hours, gaining invaluable experience and research opportunities, and providing an essential service to our customers.
We have a number of team challenges and often have company volunteers in our services who help us out with painting or gardening. We’ve had teams from large companies like Prudential and Deutschebank, groups from Action4London have done projects at several of our London services, and we always have things to do.
We welcome volunteers who want give their time to a values-led organisation and are committed to making a difference to the lives of our customers.
Current or former customers are encouraged to apply for our voluntary roles and we value the insights they can bring to our work.
Having a criminal record does not necessarily mean that you won’t be able to work for us but we do require all volunteers who will come into contact with our customers to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
We are proud that our volunteer group is as diverse as the customers we support. We are an equal opportunities organisation and do not discriminate against anyone because of protected characteristics such as age, disability, religion and sexual orientation.
“Feedback from services who have volunteers is really positive. Most of the time support staff are so busy in services that they sometimes don’t have time to do the nice things like take customers on trips or sit and chat for an hour. Volunteers really can make a difference.”