This is a chance to make an enormous impact on the quality of life of one or more people with learning disabilities by entering into a 1:1 befriending relationship or being a member of a befriending group.

The satisfaction to be had from befriending, and the difference it makes to people with learning disabilities, is immense. In a recent survey, every one of our volunteers said they would recommend volunteering with us to their friends. The role is great work experience and a source of references if you are thinking about applying for courses or paid jobs in Care.

1:1 links:
You would be introduced to a child, young person or adult with learning disabilities who lives reasonably near you and shares your interests. They would probably be of a similar age to you, although we do link some adult volunteers with children and young people.

You would meet up with them regularly (weekly, fortnightly or monthly) to do whatever activities you both chose. After a trial period, the relationship would last for at least 6 months.

Befriending Groups:
The groups are generally staff-supervised and have equal numbers of volunteers and people with learning disabilities. Members choose the activities, which have often included art & crafts, drama and outdoor projects.

Membership of the children’s (8-16yrs) and young people’s (16-25yrs) groups is usually for a minimum of a year. For adult groups we would look for at least 6 months commitment.
See the information about the Branch below for more details of the groups operating in your area.

Organisation aims and objectives

Interest Link provides a group and 1:1 befriending service to children, young people and adults with learning disabilities throughout the Scottish Borders. The service is delivered by 200 volunteers, who are supported by Interest Link staff. Our service exists to overcome the social exclusion of people with learning disabilities and enable them to pursue interests, participate in community activities, make choices, gain skills and develop independence. We have 4 branches: the Central Borders Branch is managed by Stefanie Poletyllo, who supports 1:1 links for all ages across the whole of Central Borders. Stefanie also runs fortnightly children’s (8-16yrs) and young people’s (16-25yrs) groups in Galashiels and (for three 6-week terms a year) befriending groups for adults.


Experience required: No experience or special skills are required the most important qualities volunteers can bring are their personalities and interests. The role is not that of a professional carer but of a friend and supporter. Training and support will be provided.
Travel details: We will match you with a person or group reasonably near you.


Training details: Induction and ongoing training is in groups or 1:1. There is also a written Volunteer Pack. Support is provided by the local Co-ordinator.
Support: Named Contact For Volunteer,
Wheelchair Access/Disabled Access Toilet