- Recruitment. We are currently accepting applications from new volunteers to join us in 2016. If you would like to work for Oxford Friend, please send in the application form below.
- What sort of people do we need? All of our workers are lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans*, and have been carefully chosen as approachable and understanding people who are easy to talk to. Your own experience, however similar to, or different from, that of those people who call us, qualifies you in the best possible way. You will need to be a good listener, non-judgemental, open-minded and unshockable. You will, of course, need training, supervision and support, and that takes place immediately after you start.
- What is involved in being a volunteer? It may be helpful to give you some idea of the amount of time we would expect new trainees to commit to as part of our group: Firstly, it is essential that you are able to attend our monthly business meetings held on the first Thursday of each month, from 7:30pm to 9:30pm. Secondly, although the line is staffed three evenings a week, staff members and trainees are never normally asked to do more than two evenings a month. New volunteers are required to undergo initial training held (usually) twice a month. In short, while you are training you might be asked to give up five or six evenings in the first couple of months, but this would drop to about three evenings a month in the longer term.
- What is the process for applying to become a volunteer? If you think that volunteering for Oxford Friend would suit you, you can ring us during our normal hours and we will send you an information pack. Alternatively, you can download the information pack using the link at the bottom of the section. The application form in the pack allows you to give us a few details about yourself. When you return the form to us, we’ll go about setting up an informal interview, with two of our members. This gives us a chance to learn a little more about you, and for you to quiz us about the group and how it works etc. After this your interviewers will make a recommendation to the group about whether you should be invited to join us as a trainee. If successful you will be invited to the next meeting after that, at which point someone will be assigned to you as a ‘mentor’ – someone who will support you through your training.
- What does training as a volunteer involve? Soon after you have been accepted you will listen in to calls being taken by other group members and discuss them afterwards, maintaining the confidentiality of the caller. When a small group of new volunteers has been formed, a more formal training programme will begin taking place over a number of weeks. When you and your mentor feel you are ready, you will begin to take calls while an experienced member listens in. Although this may seem a rather ‘drawn out’ process, we believe it is important that, whatever the call, the volunteers answering the line are able to offer the best possible service. You will also be invited to attend our quarterly training days. Training usually lasts about six to nine months, at the end of which your progress is discussed. Assuming everyone has confidence in your ability to provide an appropriate service, you will be welcomed into Oxford Friend as a full member. Would you like to know more? Call us and we will do our best to answer your questions.
Still interested? You can open or download an application form by clicking on one of the links below and email it to *****@oxfordfriend.co.uk. (click on the email address to reveal it)