Introducing our Social Connector program
19 April 2023
The Social Connector program supports socially isolated and/or lonely community members by connecting them with a volunteer to provide companionship and encouragement to participate in community programs and activities.
Social Connectors provide short-term companionship and social connection to encourage engagement with individual interests and hobbies, and the wider community in the Whitehorse area.
Am I eligible for the Social Connector Program?
You can join the program if you are:
- Under 65 years of age
- Have a moderate, severe, or profound disability
- Or, are an unpaid carer
- And, are interested in receiving social companionship or support to join community activities
This service is not for current NDIS participants but there may be exceptions, so please get in touch if you have any questions.
How much does it cost?
There are no out-of-pocket costs for the program, but there may be costs for the community activities depending on what you choose to participate in.
Who are volunteer Social Connectors?
Social Connectors are trained volunteers who are passionate about our community and enjoy connecting with and supporting others. They have undergone police checks and training with us, and undergo ongoing supervision and support.
How can the Social Connectors program help me?
Once you join the program, you will be matched with a Social Connector based on your interests and needs.
While the specific goals and activities will vary depending on your individual interests and needs, the short-term companionship and social support might include:
- having a cup of tea and chat with you in your home, a café, or shopping centre
- play cards or a board game
- accompany you to an appointment or the library
- support you to find a club, art group or other activity you are interested in, and they may even go to the first session with you
- organise introductions and visit community centers
How do I sign up?
Once you have signed up, one of our team members will contact you. They will ask some questions that will help match you with a volunteer Community Connector.
You can find our other Connect Well groups here.
Become a Social Connector Volunteer
You can become a Social Connector if:
- If you live near Box Hill or the surrounding suburbs
- Enjoy the idea of working with people with psychosocial or physical disabilities
- Are able to volunteer for a minimum of 2 hours weekly, for 4 months or longer
What duties does a Social Connector Volunteer do?
- 1️⃣ Provide one-to-one, short-term companionship offering practical support
- ⛳ Support clients to be social and engage in their interests and hobbies
- 🚌 Assist clients to participate in their chosen activity (eg. Helping them find the right bus route or making the journey together)
No formal skills required, full training provided.
What is the volunteering time commitment required?
The time commitment required depends on how many participants you are matched with. Once you are matched with a participant, you will be required for approximately two hours per week with a minimum of 4 months commitment to the program.
Will training and support be provided?
Yes! Extensive training and professional development will be provided. In addition, all volunteers will receive ongoing support from the Volunteer Coordinator.
What are the details of the training?
Volunteers are required to complete a Police Check, NDIS Worker Screening Check, provide your COVID Vaccination Certificate, and Working with Children Check.
Volunteer Social Connector training includes a combination of online modules and two 2-hour workshops held face-to-face at our healthAbility site in Box Hill. Once you are matched with a participant, you will then receive ongoing support from the Volunteer Coordinator in the form of weekly debriefs, and when required, additional training.
Interested? We would love to hear from you!
We are currently accepting expressions of interest from prospective volunteers who have a heart for community and who love connecting people to build inclusiveness and belonging.
If you would like to find out more information about becoming a Social Connector Volunteer, visit Volunteer placement, where you can read the position description. If you have particular questions about the role, you can email Antoinette, our Volunteer Coordinator at email@example.com. All applications are to be sent to Antoinette too.