Hammersley Homes is launching a Community Visiting Home Support Service for people who suffer from enduring mental illness, and we are looking for volunteers willing to visit these vulnerable people in their homes, to enrich their lives with companionship and support, to help them live their best life.
As the name suggests, a Community Visitor has a friendly disposition and supports the beneficiary with company, tactful guidance, presenting options for the person to make informed choices and encourages:
- Happiness and contentment
- Social contact and integration where possible
- Guidance and referrals for other support when desired/required
This may mean helping the person to go shopping, support in arranging their week, know when they have to go for medical appointments, helping with a memory jog for their medication, short walks, and trips to the park or places of interest, encouraging a hobby or attendance at a group. It may mean helping them sort through their post, with banking, and using the internet.
It is expected a visit will last two hours maximum dependent on the contract signed by the client. You may have more than one client per week.
To ensure continuity and guidance for you, you will be asked to write a short report after each visit.
You may ask for pre-approved expenses for petrol etc. as per Hammersley Homes Volunteer Policy.
To achieve this role you will be supported by:
- An induction training and manual
- An identity badge
- An accompanied first visit with a coordinator
- A debrief after your first visit
- Monthly group supervision sessions
- Training in at least the following: First aid, GDPR (confidentiality guidelines), Adult safeguarding, Self-Care, and Care for the Carer.
- A “hot line” you can phone if concerned.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE CLIENT:
With your volunteer coordinator you will agree to the “contract” you will work on together with your client. This means agreeing on what you will and won’t do. Please do not go outside the remit of this contract. It is there for your protection, to help the person work to agreed limits and protects the organization from accusations of unfair or unbalanced offerings.
To be a Community Visitor you must understand the boundaries of the role and your own limits.
The nature of the mental illness may mean that the person is not the same in mood or expression each time you visit. They may have difficulties with boundary issues and ask more of you than you want to or should give.
It is therefore important that you remain consistent and calm, knowing that the following week things may have returned to what it was before or improved. If you see a serious deterioration it is of course your role to report that to the Volunteer Coordinator.
The person may seem to be personally attacking you or the service. Again, please note they may have been triggered by something which has nothing to do with you. Please if you are able, do not give up on the person! They will be working hard to form a trusting relationship and will inevitably slip up at times.
It is not your role to do personal care or housework. If that is necessary please inform the Volunteer Coordinator.
It is not your role to provide the client with your personal telephone number or be approached by them out of your agreed times.
If you feel uncomfortable, remove yourself from the situation and phone your Coordinator.
Mental illness is so difficult for society to understand and support. By being a Mental Health Community Visitor, you are tackling one of the major challenges we face today in the NHS and social services, and in our community at large. By being a Community Visitor, you may be helping the person avoid admission to a mental health ward, or homelessness, or even prison. It’s invaluable work and we hope you can enjoy being part of the solution.