Leeway - Volunteer Befriender

Leeway runs two refuges in the West Norfolk region.  There are a number of volunteering roles that are possible in the refuges.  These include befriending, providing workshop activities for the residents, supporting Family days at the refuge, offering one to one or group sessions to residents in relaxation, crafts and many other possibilities.  The details of the befriending role are stated below.

Volunteer Befriender In Refuge and Community

About the opportunity: Leeway are offering a befriending scheme within our refuges. Befriending is offered to women feeling isolated to help grow their confidence and independence whilst living in the refuge. Befriending continues when they leave the refuge to help support the women resettle back into the community.

Important: This is not a counselling role as Leeway does not provide counselling to people who use our service. This opportunity is restricted to female applicants due to the nature of the role (S.7(2)(e) SDA applies. Exempt under the Equality Act 2010 Schedule 9, Part 1). You are unable to volunteer with Leeway if you have received a service from us in the last 24 months. We only accept volunteers over the age of 18 years.

About Leeway: Leeway Domestic Violence and Abuse Services are a specialist domestic abuse charity and currently support over 9,000 adults, children and young people every year throughout Norwich and Waveney, Kings Lynn and West Norfolk and Broadland, Breckland, Great Yarmouth, North Norfolk. It is our primary aim to offer advice, support and information to anyone who has or is currently experiencing domestic abuse. We offer a range of services, please visit our website for more information.

Volunteers are an important and valued part of Leeway. We offer you: 

  • An introduction to the charity and your team/project/role
  • Any training for your role, as stated in the role description
  • After three months of your help on a regular weekly basis, we can supply a reference
  • Support, feedback, appreciation and encouragement
  • To solve any problems as best we can
  • Free tea/coffee when you are on shift
  • Respect your dignity and treat you with kindness
  • Make use of your skills and talents and help you to develop new ones, if desired
  • Reimburse you for your travel expenses
  • Ensure volunteering opportunities best suit your needs and Leeway’s needs
  • Keep you up-to-date with information concerning your role and the charity
  • A safe volunteering environment including covering you with insurance whilst you are volunteering
  • Equal opportunities and fairness
  • Protect your personal information, holding it confidentially

What are we looking for?: We are looking for flexible volunteers with previous experience of supporting and empowering people, and who have well developed listening skills to be a Befriender on a regular one to one basis.


  • Well-developed listening and communication skills
  • Caring and sensitive manner
  • Robust emotional support skills
  • Positive outlook and enthusiastic
  • Non-judgemental and empathetic
  • Non-directive approach
  • Understanding and patient
  • Reliable and good time keeping
  • Ability to work without direct supervision
  • Willingness to create a positive befriending relationship
  • Flexible, understanding needs/appointments may change
  • An interest in understanding domestic abuse
  • You must live locally; have access to a car and a clean driving licence.

Tasks: (these will vary depending on the woman’s needs/circumstances)

  • Building a befriending relationship with the women initially in the refuge (before they leave)
  • Listening to issues and concerns
  • Dealing with confidential and sensitive information
  • Providing encouragement and support
  • Help improve self-esteem and wellbeing
  • Assist with small practical tasks such as filling out forms etc
  • Empowering people and helping improve the quality of their life
  • Signposting individuals to access information and advice
  • Accompanying/taking people to appointments or on outings (e.g. to the shops)
  • Inspiring women to take up new hobbies, interests and broaden their social networks
  • Helping individuals settle back into the community and gain independence
  • Meeting in a public place face to face such as in a café, or contacting them regularly by telephone if move out of the area
  • Being aware of risk and reporting any concerns to the Co-ordinator
  • You will not be expected to provide any personal care or support the women in their own homes when they leave the refuge.

Practical Considerations Location: Our refuge locations are confidential, but volunteers will be based in (Swaffham, Heacham, King’s Lynn). When the women leave the refuge, you will meet them in the local community.

Hours: We request two hours per week, for a minimum of six months. This arrangement needs to be flexible depending on the individual’s needs, and can be any week-day, evening or weekend.

Support: We provide full support and guidance while you are volunteering and offer travel expenses.

Training: You will be given an induction to the charity, and training which includes Domestic Abuse Awareness, DASH Risk Assessment, Professional Boundaries & Confidentiality and Befriending.

Next steps: Please complete an application form which you will find on the website. When we receive the form back from you, we will contact you to invite you to an informal interview. This role requires a DBS check going forward, which we organise at no cost to you.


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