At the heart of our organisation are our volunteers who give their time to support other families in their communities and over the helplines. We currently have over 650 volunteers across the UK of all ages and from all backgrounds. You can give a few hours every week, or each month or offer to help with a specific task or event for a short period of time, it is completely up to you.
Some people volunteer to give something back as a thank you for the support they received, others do it to meet new people or gain experience that might help them find a job. Whatever your reasons we would love to hear from you. Our volunteers make us who we are and enable us to support thousands of families each year, why not join us!
If you would like to volunteer your time to support other mums with breastfeeding you will first need to complete our Training. This helps us make sure that the support and information our volunteers offer is safe, up to date and consistent across the UK.
We would love to be able to offer training to everyone who asked, but unfortunately, this is not possible due to funding. This means we may not have training available in your area or you may need to wait for several months before you can get a place on a course.
We provide two levels of training designed for mums who have breastfed to become registered BfN volunteers. This can be provided as part of a Peer Support project or as a stand-alone activity, to increase breastfeeding awareness and support in a specific area.
All our peer support training is accredited by OCN London and is delivered by trained BfN tutors. You will work through the training as part of a group. This enables you to share experiences and develop relationships with other women training to volunteer in your local area or across the UK.
BfN training is open to all women who have personal experience of breastfeeding their own babies. It is open to mothers of all ages and background; to enable them to widen their knowledge, skills and experience to support breastfeeding within their communities or remotely.
BfN is committed to promoting equality and diversity and to eliminating discrimination in our training and coordination of volunteers. We will always look to make reasonable adjustments and to provide additional support so as to ensure that our training is accessible to everyone.
What do you get when you train with us?
- All workbooks, manuals, course materials and other resources to help you support mums and families
- The opportunity to complete training as part of a group of mums who have breastfed
- Support from a trained BfN Tutor
- Assessment and internal moderation of completed coursework
- Peer support from other trainees on the course and the opportunity to develop a supportive network
- Registration and accreditation with Open College Network (London)
- BfN ID badge and OCNL certificate upon completion
- Full complimentary membership of BfN for two years (see here for full details) – including DBS and PVG checks, low-cost or free entry to our annual conference and subscription to our quarterly BfN News
- Insurance to volunteer on behalf of BfN
- Regular supervision (usually monthly) and ongoing support
- Ongoing training and opportunities for further development (Helpers can train to become Supporters and Supporters can go on to train as Supervisors and Tutors)
- The opportunity to work as a registered volunteer which can be useful work experience when applying for paid employment, also with a reference from a national charity
BfN Helper Course (Peer Supporter)
This is our first level of training for volunteers. By completing the course you can hope to achieve:
- The knowledge to support other mums with breastfeeding
- A nationally recognised, Open College Network (London) accredited qualification (two units at Level 2, equivalent level to GCSEs in England and National 5s in Scotland)
- The opportunity to continue training to become a BfN Registered Breastfeeding Supporter
Training to become a BfN Helper volunteer is free and may include a crèche facility.
BfN Registered Helpers (peer supporters) can volunteer in a variety of different ways: in BfN breastfeeding drop-in groups, in hospitals, schools and in antenatal classes.
The course itself usually consists of twelve 2 hour sessions which are traditionally delivered face to face at a local community venue. We are currently developing a more blended approach. This combines the same excellent support from an experienced BfN tutor and access to an accredited course using an online format. The online course includes around seven group tutorials delivered via video call.
There is also a version of the BfN Helper Course aimed specifically at training peer supporters to be able to volunteer in the neonatal unit.
BfN Supporter Course
BfN Registered Helpers may go on to do a second stage of training if they wish. On completion of this second level of training you would become a BfN Registered Supporter. You would develop the skills to work more independently and to offer phone support on the National Breastfeeding Helpline (NBH).
The BfN Supporters course consists of at least two units at OCNL level 3, with the opportunity to complete a further unit (equivalent level to GCE A levels in England and Highers in Scotland and worth up to 12 credits). There are 13 group sessions delivered face to face or as online video calls over around 6 months. Trainees are expected to complete 13 assignments which are then assessed and moderated. This course may be delivered entirely face to face or using a mix of online training and group video call tutorials.
Availability of Training
Courses accepting applications just now are listed below. If there is no course listed for your area at present, please to go to our Peer Support Projects page where you can view individual project pages and contact details.
Please refer to our Volunteer Recruitment Policy for more information about how the process works.
If your area is not listed it is unlikely that we are currently offering training near you. We are developing new courses, including online training, and information will be made available here on the website and on social media so please keep checking back.
If you would like to tell us more about why you would like to train please complete this form to register your interest.