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Help

Ami basics

What is Ami?

Ami is an online service which makes it easy to find lonely or socially isolated people in your community who need a little help and support. It might be doing the shopping, getting to appointments or being someone to chat with, over a cup of tea. Ami will show you what’s needed near you and help you to register with a local voluntary organisation.

How does Ami work?

Ami makes it easier to support lonely or socially isolated people in your community.

By entering your postcode you’ll be able to find profiles of people near you who’d like some help. It won’t be possible to identify them or their address, but you’ll be able to see what kind of help they need, what their interests are and roughly how close they live to you.

When you find someone that you’d like to help, Ami will tell you which voluntary organisation this person is registered with and invite you to sign up with the same organisation who will contact you to arrange an interview, DBS checks, references etc.

You’ll receive email updates from the voluntary organisation to let you know how your application is progressing.

The voluntary org will match you according to place, time available, need to someone to help.

Who will Ami help?

Ami will help lonely and socially isolated people by helping to recruit more volunteers. In the future, Ami will enable people to make new connections in their communities by providing introductions to other individuals and groups.

Ami will help volunteers by making it quicker and easier to connect with people in their communities who need help and support. In the future the Ami App will help volunteers to book, change or cancel volunteering activities 24/7 and receive reminders and news of local, one-off volunteer opportunities as they arise.

Ami will help Voluntary Organisations to recruit more volunteers and make it quicker and easier to match their skills and interests with the needs of local lonely people.

Volunteering

How does volunteering benefit others?

Volunteering to help and support lonely and socially isolated people has a very real and valuable positive affect on people, communities and society in general.

How does volunteering benefit me?

Volunteering can help you gain confidence and experience and learn new skills by giving you the chance to try something new and build a real sense of achievement. You can also meet different kinds of people, make new friends, feel part of a community and have fun!

How much time will I need?

It’s really up to you to decide how much time you’d like to offer. Some organisations ask for a particular commitment from their volunteers especially if the role involves building up trust with someone. Others take a more flexible approach. You can commit to as much or as little as you like from an hour a month to several hours a week.

What if something goes wrong?

You will be matched to someone who needs help and support by an experienced and trusted volunteer organisation. They will interview you and the person asking for help and make a carefully considered match based on available time, needs, interests, skills and location.

You will also be asked to complete a DBS check and to supply references. A great deal of time and care will be taken to ensure that the voluntary role you are offered is right for you.

In the unlikely event that something goes wrong or you find you don’t get on with the person you have been matched with, you should contact the organisation’s volunteer coordinator who will be able to offer advice and support.

Can I leave if I don’t like it?

Yes, of course. You’re under no real obligation to keep volunteering for an organisation if you don’t like it. However, it’s always worth talking to somebody about it first. This might be the volunteer coordinator or whoever is responsible for you. You can discuss with them why you feel unhappy and what might improve it.

Can I claim benefits whilst volunteering?

Yes. If you’re claiming Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance, Incapacity Benefit and Disability Living Allowance, you can volunteer without losing any benefit as long as you continue to meet the conditions of receiving those benefits. Please tell your volunteer coordinator that you are claiming benefits, especially if you are seeking paid work so you might only be able to volunteer for a short time.

Will I get training?

This varies a lot depending on which organisation you are volunteering for and the type of role you have chosen. Some of this information will be available on the organisation’s website but you can ask for more information during your interview.

How old do I need to be?

You will need to be 18 for most of the roles on the Ami website. This is due to the type of role or because the organisation’s insurance only covers people aged 18 or over.