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Young People’s Befriending (Pilot scheme)

What is our Young People Befriending Service?

Our Young People Befriending Service offers individual support by trained volunteer befrienders to young people with concerns about their mental health and/or emotional wellbeing.

Young People's Befriending Pilot SchemeThe aim is to improve quality of life, reduce isolation, and increase confidence and self-esteem.

Volunteer befrienders (all of whom are 18+) will have an induction, plus mental health, child protection and safeguarding training.

Volunteers can provide support of approximately one hour a week (or two hours a fortnight) for up to a year.  We ask our volunteers to commit to the service for a minimum of one year.

Referral criteria

To qualify for befriending, you must fit the following criteria:

  • Age 14-18
  • Your home post code should be DT or BH (Dorset-wide)
  • You will be experiencing mild to moderate emotional or mental health concerns or feeling socially isolated
  • Low to medium risk (see below in ‘What makes a good referral’)

What mild to moderate mental health concerns can we deal with?

We are able to offer a befriending service for young people who are experiencing some of the following, as long as the concern is of a mild to moderate nature:

  • Anger
  • Anxiety/stress
  • Behavioural problems
  • Bullying
  • Domestic Violence
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Health (own/others’)
  • Low mood
  • Pregnancy or related issues
  • Sexuality
  • School related difficulties
  • Self-identity/gender identity
  • Self esteem
  • Social isolation
  • Low/moderate self-harming behaviour
  • Low/moderate trauma/abuse
  • Alcohol/drugs – we expect that initial contact with specialist substance misuse services will have been made before applying.
  • Bereavement/loss – for young people with “normal” grief responses.  Other agencies can offer support.

Who can make a referral?

The following people or organisations can make referrals.  Parental consent has to be obtained prior to the referral process (there is a section to complete on the Client Referral Form):

  • School Nurses
  • Parents/carers/guardians
  • GP
  • Any other professionals (social worker, support worker, teacher, counsellor, etc.)

How to make a good referral with parental consent

Prior to a referral to Dorset Mind, the young person should have been supported initially to access a primary (health Tier 1) intervention.

We ask that you consult first with the young person and obtain their consent for the referral to be made.  It’s important that they fully commit to the appointments (an average of two hours per fortnight).

Before you make a referral, please read our Befriending Criteria and Guidelines.

To make a referral, please complete this Client Referral Form.

We accept referrals via post or secure email

Please make sure you complete the referral form properly and fully. 

What happens after the referral has been submitted?

The Young People Befriending Service will arrange an initial consultation and assessment between the young person and our Young People Befriending Coordinator.  Once the referral criteria is satisfied we will offer the service.  Dorset Mind will then match the young person to a suitable Befriending Volunteer.

Both the Befriender and the young person will have to sign this contract to agree their expectations and commitment.  So that parents/guardians are aware of these meetings and activities they will also have to sign the contract.

What happens during the meetings will depend on the young person’s individual needs, goals, and affordability.  All meetings will take place in the community.

Befriending usually takes place for 2 hours (approx) a fortnight over the course of 6 months to 1 year.

The Pilot Scheme

Please be aware that this is a pilot scheme.  We are offering 10 spaces on a first-come first-served basis in order to demonstrate the need and demand for this service. We are continuing to accept suitable referrals with the view to prove that there is a continued need for the service in order to secure additional funding.

BBC Children in Need

We would like to thank BBC Children in Need for funding our Pilot Scheme.  You can find out more here.

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