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Volunteer with the Connect and Support Service

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Can you empathise and listen to older people, be assertive and articulate talking to third parties on their behalf, and commit to at least 10 hours a month for at least a year? If so, you could play an important role as a volunteer with ’s Connect and Support Service.


What is the Connect and Support Service?

The Connect and Support service is a free national service, delivered by both staff and volunteers, which provides older people with support over the phone to help them gain access to services and activities that could benefit them.

This service offers signposting, light-touch advocacy and support, but does not provide opinion or personal advice. The aim of the service is to focus on empowering the individual.

The individual referred from one of our other services (the Advice Line, Telephone Friendship Service or The Silver Line Helpline) must have a clear idea of what they want to achieve and the ability to lead and direct their support. Our team will work towards helping them to achieve their identified goals or outcomes – which may change as things develop.


What might I do as a volunteer?

As a Connect and Support Service volunteer, you might:

  • encourage an older person to meet other people and be less lonely, by finding out about social activities, making connections, and checking with them that all's gone well
  • support an older person with mobility problems to attend a day centre or lunch club by helping them to arrange transport
  • help an older person find a gardener or handyperson so they can maintain their home
  • research options for care at home for someone who is starting to need extra help
  • make a call on an older person’s behalf to sort out a problem, when they don’t feel confident to do so themselves
  • link an older person to their local and the support that they and others offer.

The difference the Connect and Support Service can make

"I do not think you could offer a friendler or better service. It led to a very positive outcome for me."

An older man

"I am so happy. It changed my life. Thank you."


What’s great about being a volunteer with the Connect and Support Service?

  • You'll be using your skills to make a practical, and measurable impact on older people’s lives, improving their happiness, wellbeing, and confidence.
  • You'll have the opportunity to enhance your skills and develop new ones.
  • You have a regular opportunity to share your experiences with other volunteers, so you can learn from them and them from you.
  • Working virtually means that you can help older people all over the UK from your own home.
  • It can be a very rewarding experience empowering older people.

Steps to becoming a volunteer

  1. You sign up and . We post new opportunities as soon as they are available.
  2. To confirm that your skills and experience match what the service needs, we will invite you to an interview by phone, Zoom or Microsoft Teams and ask for 2 references. Please have your references ready when you apply.
  3. We will help you with the process of doing an Enhanced DBS check (Disclosure and Barring Service), to meet our safeguarding requirements.
  4. While that is happening, you will start your training so that when the checks are complete you will be ready to start helping your first older person.   

What's expected of me?

We are looking for people who can listen to older people with respect, patience, empathy and understanding. You will need to help them clarify what they want to achieve and support them in achieving that. You will need to be assertive in dealing with third parties, be tenacious in finding solutions, and be able to work with professional boundaries.

If you have a genuine desire to support older people and an understanding of the challenges older people can face in later life volunteering for this service could be for you.

We would also expect you to:

  • ideally, have an awareness of the types of services, activities and support that would need to be researched and contacted to help older people overcome their challenges
  • be IT literate with access to a PC/laptop to send emails and use databases, a Wi-Fi connection, and a telephone (landline or mobile)
  • communicate effectively both verbally and in writing
  • be willing to undertake further training and supervision as and when requested
  • commit to volunteer for at least 2.5 hours per working week for a minimum of 12 months.

How am I supported?

Signing up

If you have any queries or issues when signing up or need further questions answered, please email connectandsupport@ageuk.co.uk and we will reply, or we can arrange a call to you to talk everything through.

Training

You will be fully trained before you begin volunteering. Initial training will include a mixture of reading and e-learning modules. We will ensure that you feel comfortable and well supported from day one.

Support

Our Connect and Support team will be available to provide ongoing support Monday-Friday 9am-5pm, as well as offering and running volunteer catch ups. We offer on-shift live support by the Connect and Support Team to guide you as you find your feet.

Safety

We protect the safety of all volunteers by using a virtual call centre, so you don't need to use your personal telephone number and the calls will not cost you anything.

"Having newly retired, I was seeking an opportunity that would enable me to keep and enhance my own skills. I have only been volunteering within for a short period of time, but to date have found my new role to be both rewarding and interesting."

Phone icon Volunteer with the Connect and Support Service

If you're happy with everything that being a volunteer involves, we'd love to hear from you.


Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What training do I need?

You'll be provided with online and telephone training, spread out over approximately 9 hours. You'll also be given the chance to practise your skills, in your own time and until you're comfortable, before helping your first older person.

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Why do I need an enhanced DBS check?

The enhanced check reflects how important we think our work is and the need to recruit volunteers whom we can trust with sensitive information.

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What do I do if I am worried about the older person I am supporting?

This will be covered in your training, but there will always be someone you can pass on your concerns too.

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How is my telephone number kept anonymous?

The charity uses a call handling service so that when you call an older person, the number they see is a generic number. If someone tried to call you back, their message would be taken by a central messaging point and never your own phone. There's no cost to you when using this system.

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How long will it be before I can start supporting older people?

From your initial application to taking your first shift can take up to 6-8 weeks. This is partly dependent on how long it takes to complete the reading and e-learning modules. 

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Can I volunteer with the Connect and Support service as a university student and as part of a university placement?

We welcome applications from students who would like to volunteer their time with us. Unfortunately, we're not able to offer this role as a placement opportunity with our Connect and Support service given the requirements for documented supervision. Please take a look at other volunteering opportunities with your local or your nearest shop though - we'd love to have you on board. 

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I want to find out more before applying – who can I contact?

Contact us at connectandsupport@ageuk.org.uk – we can answer questions by email, or arrange a phone call to talk through them with you. 

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Last updated: Apr 03 2024

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