Together for Short Lives
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Engaging families

This section provides resources to help refer families to your service and match volunteers with families. You can also click on the links to any of the other sections below.

First check your progress: You can access a simple checklist of steps here, to see what you are already doing well and what gaps you might want to fill.

Promoting the service

Some organisations like to get volunteers in place before they start advertising the service to families and others like to promote the service to families straight away so there is someone for volunteers to work with immediately. There are pros and cons with both approaches because you don’t want volunteers trained and then not have anything to do, but you don’t want families waiting a long time for help.

It is really important not only to promote the service to families or service users but also the staff working with those people. Staff teams should be encouraged to refer or recommend the service to anyone they think would be suitable. Making sure that staff are properly engaged, know what the service is about and don’t feel threatened by it is a key factor for the success of your volunteer service.

Resources that might help you include:


Matching families and volunteers

Once your volunteers are trained and have undertaken a criminal records check and you have families eager to receive support,  you’ll need to allocate one or more volunteers to each family. This might seem simple, but there is quite a lot to think about when matching a family with a volunteer. Asking the family what type of support they want and any preferences is a good start. Then you will need to think about finding a volunteer who will not need to travel too far and who is available to do what the family wants at a mutually convenient time. You might also need to consider the personality types of volunteers and families to ensure a good match.

Resources that might help you include:

Next Steps
Return to Engaging volunteers / Find out about Running your service