Who needs you?
In order to determine whether the needs of bereaved people are already being met in this practical way, those wishing to establish a FoB should liaise with and consult other local volunteering organisations and charities before proceeding.
If a FoB is established it ought, as a matter of good policy and practice, to establish partnerships with local charities and volunteering organisations.
What’s in it for the volunteers?
For any altruistic enterprise to be attractive to its stakeholders it must appeal to the self-interest of all those involved in it.
The appeal to bereaved people is obvious. In the case of volunteers, it is in their interest to help others because, in addition to the satisfaction they will gain from altruistic activity, they may, in time, need other community members to help people closest to them – their spouse or partner, for example.
All not some
A FoB will draw volunteers from the entire community without regard to age, sex, faith or lifestyle.
It will not serve exclusively the needs of ‘people like us’. A FoB will do well to establish good relations with all faith groups in the community because faith groups hold funerals.
From these faith groups a FoB is likely to recruit excellent volunteers. In its work, of course, a FoB is belief-neutral and must never be used as a vehicle for proselytising.
A FoB has a mission of care to all bereaved people.
Emotional support no, comfort and companionship yes.
It is not the purpose of a FoB to offer emotional support; there are others who do this specialised work.
But an incidental – it must be incidental – and very valuable aspect of the work of a FoB will be the emotional comfort it affords a bereaved person.
An educational remit
Any FoB is encouraged to take upon itself an educational remit in order to promote healthy attitudes towards, and positive engagement with, death, dying and bereavement.