Volunteers, families and children in need: an evaluation of Family Friends

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This paper explores the findings from a small-scale research project that analysed the impact of Family Friends – a voluntary agency that provides support to families under stress who have children aged between 5 and 11 years. The study, funded by Family Friends, evaluated service users' perceptions of the support they received, specifically in relation to the significance and impact of the volunteer befrienders. The research identified that there are a proportion of families in need who fail to attract services from mainstream statutory agencies. It also identified that the Family Friends voluntary agency makes a particular contribution to service provision by offering a friendly, non-stigmatizing, caring and responsive service.

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