Family Support Volunteer - live chat

Organisational background

Family Lives was formed over forty years ago by volunteers with the aim of ensuring that all parents had somewhere to turn before they reach crisis point.

We know that the right support at the right time makes all the difference. Family Lives provides targeted early intervention and crisis support to families who are struggling.

Purpose of the role

To be part of a flexible team providing empathic, caring and informed support to families, carers and others who use our services.

Live chat is a free confidential service that is accessed via our website. Service users are offered emotional support, information and advice and guidance on a broad range of family issues.


The volunteer will be fully supported and trained to provide the following activities:

  • Provide emotional support to family members via our live chat service
  • Use the Family Lives support model and tools to provide empathic responses
  • Ensure that all service users receive a high quality experience
  • Signpost users to other agencies for information and additional support
  • Complete conversation data records
  • Alert the shift supervisor to any difficult situations

The Benefits of Volunteering

  • Satisfaction in making a real and lasting difference to families who are struggling
  • An opportunity to develop experience for CV and references. Family Lives is committed to helping volunteers develop their own learning and development, gaining new skills, knowledge or work experience
  • Being part of a team of Family Lives volunteers and staff
  • Personal development
  • Opportunities to meet and interact with a wide range of people
  • Out of pocket expenses reimbursed to a maximum of £10 per session if working from a centre
  • Flexible hours

Our next remote volunteer call taking training is taking place at the end of April and volunteers would need to be able to attend all 5 modules. The dates are:

April training dates:

Module 1 - Monday 22nd April

Module 2 - Wednesday 24th April

Module 3 - Monday 29th April

Module 4 - Wednesday 1st May

Module 5 - Wednesday 8th May

10am to 2pm


Volunteer Person Specification

We are looking for individuals who:

  • Have experience of parenting/being in a parenting role or demonstrable experience of working with parents or children e.g. in their work, previous volunteering or a previous role
  • Have an ability to respond empathically to emotional content
  • Good written and verbal communication
  • Have good keyboard skills and IT skills, with a minimum of 50 wpm
  • Can demonstrate a willingness to question their own attitudes e.g. toward different forms of parenting
  • Have a fluent, descriptive and expressive use of English
  • Can remain open minded and non-judgemental
  • Willing to commit to work within Family Lives’ policies, in particular our Confidentiality Policy and Risk of Harm Procedures
  • Willing to commit to attending regular support sessions
  • Willing to work as part of a team
  • Willing to commit to a mutually agreed period or ideally a 12 months commitment to the organisation

Volunteers should be willing to:

  • Attend the relevant volunteer training
  • Maintain confidentiality and adhere to the other policies and procedures of the organisation
  • Participate in regular support, review meetings and learning sessions as agreed

For home based volunteers only:

  • Volunteers will need a Laptop/PC, fast broadband and a private place to work from home
  • Volunteers need to be IT/PC literate and confident troubleshooting should they have technical difficulties

Organisational values

Mission: We build better family lives together.

Vision: Families should have access to active support and understanding.

Values: Trustworthy, Compassionate and Collaborative


  • Age restrictions
    18+ only
  • Expenses reimbursed
  • Ongoing support
    Support during shifts, with a debrief after every shift. Staff are available outside of your shift within office hours. You will also receive an annual review.
  • Training provided
  • Written role description

When can I volunteer?

Start Date: 27/03/2024

End Date: 01/04/2025

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Morning Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Afternoon Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Evening No No No No No No No

Availability Details

Monday to Thursday between 9am and 6pm Friday between 9am and 5pm We are looking for volunteers to commit to one four-hour shift per week, plus attending training, practise development groups and review meetings


This opportunity can be carried out whilst working from home.

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