Renfrewshire Council’s Social Work service has issued an appeal for volunteers to a scheme helping some of the area’s most vulnerable children and young people.
The Befriending Youth Scheme pairs up adult volunteers with young people aged eight – 18 experiencing difficulties at home or in their local community. By acting as role model and building up a trusting relationship, the adult can help the young person develop more positive behaviour and attitude.
The scheme has had over 70 volunteers providing more than 10,000 hours of voluntary service in the past nine years. Many of these volunteers have used the experience as a stepping stone to further training or volunteering and even careers in social work.
Its success has attracted £5,000 of grant funding from the STV Hunter Appeal since 2010.
Councillor Iain McMillan, Convenor of Renfrewshire Council’s Social work, Health and Wellbeing policy board said: “As little as an hour or two of your time volunteering for this scheme can make such difference.
“Our befrienders don’t concentrate on the offending behaviour or a young person’s problems – they spend the time encouraging hobbies, skills and a better attitude. Taking the time to listen and share an interest or hobby is hugely important to building up self-esteem.
“We recruit ordinary adults of all ages from across Renfrewshire – what they all have in common is a genuine interest in helping young people.”
Befrienders are offered extensive training, ongoing support and out-of-pocket expenses.