The role of befriender is to walk alongside the refugee, to enable them to find their feet and gradually build up networks of support and friendships by meeting up weekly for a few hours.

There is a clear distinction between friendship and befriending. Friendship is a private, mutual relationship. Befriending is a service which may be open to scrutiny by others.

Befriending activity may take place in the family’s home or in the community. This is to be mutually agreed.

Role Summary

  • To develop a trusting relationship with the refugee family, both with individuals and the family as a whole.
  • To support the family in resettling in the local and wider community.
  • To support the family in becoming familiar with and comfortable in their new surroundings
  • To help the family settle, live and learn and work independently
  • To help the family improve their English
  • To communicate and collaborate with other befrienders and ESOL teachers to provide the best possible and most empowering experiences for the family
  • To be consistent and dependable in the relationship with the family member(s).
  • To follow all safeguarding procedures as set out in FPWRF Safeguarding Policy and safeguard and protect the welfare of children, young people, vulnerable adults and the elderly.
  • To maintain confidentiality and follow the policies and procedures of FPWRF.
  • To participate in training and regular support meetings of befrienders and the wider volunteer team.
  • To keep records according to the agreed procedures of FPWRF.

The specific roles and activities are varied and will be mutually agreed but may include:

  • Showing the family where things are and how to access them (shops, public transport, community services)
  • Going with the family to appointments, groups or events
  • Helping the family practice their English
  • Having a cup of tea at a café
  • Going for a walk
  • Sharing interests/hobbies
  • Helping the family with education and work

Important note

Befrienders cannot:

  • Give legal, financial or other professional advice
  • Provide the family with money
  • Look after the children
  • Tell members of the family what to do

Terms and conditions

  • Befrienders are volunteer, bound by the policies and procedures of FPWRF.
  • The timings and types of befriending activities to be agreed with FPWRF and the family.
  • DBS checks will be organised and paid for by FPWRF.
  • Relevant training will be provided and befrienders are required to attend.



  • To have good listening and communication skills.
  • To be willing to commit to building a befriending relationship that empowers the family and encourages their independence.
  • To understand the importance of appropriate boundaries.
  • To be non-judgemental and non-directive in your approach.
  • Flexibility to be able to respond to the needs and aspirations of the family in a calm and professional manner.
  • To be self-motivated and enthusiastic.
  • To be self-reflective, caring and supportive with the ability to handle a level of stress.
  • To be able to safeguard and protect the welfare of children, young people, vulnerable adults and the elderly.
  • Be able to commit a minimum of 3 hours per week to the befriending relationship.
  • To have up-to-date DBS disclosure or a willingness to undergo a DBS check.
  • To be willing to undergo relevant training. 


  • Experience of working with refugees.
  • Experience of providing a befriending service.
  • Experience of working with vulnerable people.
  • Experience of working as a member of a team.