Helping families & individuals
What is it?     What you need     Getting started     Find out more


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What is it?

  • Young parents, people who are single parents, and those looking after large families, are all among the family groups who may need help coping with everyday life from time to time.  

  • Individuals facing special transitions like the bereaved and the newly separated and divorced may also need counselling and other forms of help.  

  • Many of the organisations, who provide these kinds of help, use volunteers on a regular or occasional basis. You can also be an informal carer for family groups among your own wider family and friends.  

  • Much of the work required involves basic activities like home visits, driving and befriending, though there is also scope for volunteers in special counselling and advisory services.  Other activities in which volunteers often participate include fund raising and administration.

Find out more


Alcohol Concern
Crossroads Care  0207 380 1133

Cruise Bereavement Care  0208 940 4818
Family Welfare Association  0207 254 6251
RELATE (Marriage Guidance)



See also the organisations listed under Volunteering



We have not managed to identify any magazines dealing specially with this type of helping.  But most of the organisations listed above have a newsletter for their members.

Getting started

  • Find a local group or club that covers the type of people and personal problems with which you would like to help (see organisations above).

  • See if your local group offers introductory sessions or events.  Take a class or course relevant to personal and family problems at your local adult education centre. 

  • Consult books or magazines on different types of personal and family problems and how to cope with them.

  • Check in your local library/paper or volunteer centre for more information.

What you need

Skills and people
  • People of all ages and both sexes can volunteer to help families and individuals who have special problems.  There is no need to have special skills or knowledge but many groups offer volunteers training in caring and giving advice.

  • You will probably be in contact with people from a variety of family circumstances and various backgrounds. 

  • You can find the families and individuals who need help either by contacting the specialist organisations or through your own friends and wider family.

Equipment or clothing
  • As a volunteer you don't need to have any special equipment, though volunteer drivers often use their own cars and volunteer administrators may have their own computers and office equipment. 

  • Some organisations like you to wear badges or clothing to identify yourself.

A place or facilities
  • You can help in families and individuals in their own homes, by taking/driving people where they want to go, or by working in a social centre or residential home.  

  • Fund raising and administration will generally involve activities locally, with some work at home.

Have a go - get started now


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