5s to 13s befriending

Our befriending service provides support to children and families who are facing adversity. We aim to help local families face their challenges and develop strategies which empower them to build a more positive future.

What do we offer?

One-to-one support to an individual child (aged between 5 and 13 years) and their family, with a trained volunteer befriender

Our befrienders offer a listening ear, provide non-judgmental advice when asked, involve their child in fun activities, work to re-engage child and parents and improve self-confidence, encourage families to seek their own solutions to problems they face, and signpost other sources  of support in the local area.

Visits take place weekly, for two hours and families are asked to    commit to one year with the service in order to see the real benefits.

Additionally we provide:

  • group activities for children, such as after-school workshops and an annual activity day during summer holidays
  • support for families at meetings with schools and other community agencies.

We often build on the work that other services have put into place, promote their strategies and help to forge relationships between them and families. Parents of children receiving support from a befriender can also be referred to our complementary counselling services.

Quotes - Winchester charity
  • “Our son was very quiet and withdrawn; he is much more confident now and has a wonderful bond with his volunteer.”

    Lucy, 5s to 13s mum
  • “My volunteer has pulled our family together as she is someone different that I can talk to instead of my Mum and she listens.”

    Harry, 5s to 13s focus child

Who is it for?

Families with a child between the ages of 5 to 13. Some children are experiencing difficulties with relationships at home and may have challenging behaviour that parents are finding difficult to manage. Others may be struggling with their school, their homework, or have siblings with complex needs.

Referrals come from a range of places, including schools, GPs and Children’s Services. Get in touch if you think your family might need
our support.

How does it work?

Once a referral has been accepted, our 5s to 13s Befriending Manager meets with the family in their own home to identify their needs.                A volunteer befriender is then carefully matched and introduced to the focus child and parents.

The befriender makes weekly visits, after school or sometimes at weekends. During this time the befriender gets to know and develop positive relationships with the child and family, and offer guidance in a non-judgemental and supportive way.

Befrienders support their focus child by spending quality time together, engaged in activities inside and outside of the child’s home to boost confidence and develop their social skills and interests.

What are the benefits?
Friends of the Family

Beth’s story…

Beth aged 8 was referred by her school SENCO. Her mum, Zara, had been diagnosed with neurological disorder and was experiencing debilitating fatigue, mobility issues and regular seizures. For safety Beth and Zara moved into Zara’s parents’ home but Zara’s physical and emotional symptoms had an enormous impact on everyone’s wellbeing and Beth become withdrawn and anxious about her mum’s health.  

 An experienced befriender called Jane was matched to not only offer support and friendship to Beth, but also to offer respite to Zara and her parents. Beth was initially reticent to leave mum “in case she gets wobbly and needs me” so Jane planned short excursions to places that were familiar to Beth to build up her confidence and reassure her that her mum would be okay.  

After a few weeks Jane was able to extend the sessions until she and Beth were spending the full two hours out of the home enjoying a range of befriending activities together. The nurturing and trusting relationship that Jane has provided has allowed Beth’s confidence to flourish to the point where she was even able to spend an entire day out at a FOTF summer activity workshop trying rock climbing and ringos for the first time.  

 As the befriending year concluded, a referral was made for Beth to the Young Carers and she started working positively with them. At the final review Zara said “Jane has been amazing, and Beth has got so much out of their time together. She is definitely more confident and now ready to start working with the young carers. Jane has also been a great support to me and my parents too; We all love Jane!”   

Do you need support, are interested in volunteering or want more information about our befriending service?

Then get in touch on 01962 864466 or hello@fotfwinchester.org

Between April 23 – March 24…

befriender interactions were provided
focus children were supported
volunteer befrienders worked with us