Volunteering with the Elderly | Revealing, Recognising and Rewarding Positive Role Models

Care Homes

Your care home can have our Befriending scheme 

Any care home in the UK is welcome to apply to host a YOPEY Befriender scheme. However, YOPEY gives preference to care homes in the East of England – Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.

YOPEY operates from its founder’s home in Suffolk and costs are significantly reduced by working with care homes, schools and colleges in its home region.

YOPEY will recruit young people from a school, then spend time teaching the new YOPEY Befrienders how to relate to people living with dementia and how to establish intergenerational friendships. The aim is that each young person visits your residents for an hour a week for up to a year.

Our volunteers are trained to relate to your residents

We also provide our YOPEY Befrienders with safety training to reduce the possibility of causing upset, or being upset, in the care home they visit.

Many YOPEY Befrienders stay for longer than an hour during some visits. Your care home’s staff are encouraged to include them in lifestyle or wellbeing activities but YOPEY does not run work experience, although, separate arrangements can be made with a young person’s school and/or parents).

We tend to recruit between 10 and 30 young people to visit each care home. We will liaise with your care home and the students to compile a timetable to suit your needs. Each YOPEY Befriender records the visits they make on our website. These reports can be compiled into a document by YOPEY for your care home to show the Care Quality Commission and other stakeholders.

Homes with YOPEY Befrienders are upgraded by CQC

Over the years, our young volunteers and these reports have contributed to several care homes being upgraded by the Care Quality Commission.

A CQC inspection report that resulted in a care home being upgraded from Requires Improvement to Good says:

“Another scheme the registered manager organised that was working really well was the YOPEY Befriender scheme. This involved young people volunteering to visit people in the care home to help ease loneliness while learning life lessons. The registered manager included a pen pal system for those who wanted to keep in touch with children from the school outside of visits.”

Homes rated Good have been upgraded to Outstanding 

A CQC inspection report that resulted in a care home being upgraded to Outstanding says:

“The benefits are getting to meet young people with new ideas and they bring their own special qualities like art and music. They have time to sit and chat and the most valuable thing you can do, particularly room visits. This helped to reduce people’s isolation and was particularly good for people who did not like big group activities.”

Care homes are expected to contribute to the costs of running their YOPEY Befriender scheme. Your contribution is negotiable and payments can be made monthly. Sometimes YOPEY is able to reduce a care home’s contribution by securing grant money to work in your area.

Care Homes Manager Praise YOPEY Befriender 

Here’s what a couple of registered managers say about having YOPEY Befriender in their care homes…

Ann, who runs a care home in Watford, says YOPEY Befrienders “changed the dynamic” of her home.

“Befrienders bring in new ideas with them as well as the positive effect they have on residents, who react differently to them than they do with our staff and their families.”

A pair of boy YOPEY Befrienders set up a ‘pub’ in the home and several have brought in pets to show residents, including dogs, a snake and a tarantula spider.

‘The whole home has improved because of Befrienders”

“By coming in to chat, to do the life stories and even to help with our shop, the whole home has improved because of Befrienders,” said Ann.

Nirmla, who runs a day centre linked to another Watford home, said: “YOPEY Befriender is really special, for the time the young people can give to our clients and by them taking an interest in clients’ lives far more than staff can give them.”

Nirmla added: “We have noticed the change for the better in our clients and we appreciate all those young people who have continued to visit, even with the pressure on them of their studies.”

The Managing Director of a chain of care homes said: “We think the YOPEY Befriender scheme is a fantastic initiative. It is bringing a large number of young people into our homes and putting a smile on the faces of our residents.”

Find Out more

If you are interested in being part of a YOPEY Befriender scheme, email us at hello@yopey.org or call us at 01440 821654 to find out more about how you can support YOPEY Befriender.