Could you be a FaN?

Could you be a FaN?
9th February 2015 mg_fans

Who can be a FaN?

Anybody who shares the values and principles of the FaNs movement and would like to be part of it. Care home managers are ultimately responsible for what goes on in their homes, so they have the final say as to who they would like to be actively involved with the home and the people who live and work there.

Do I have to join an organisation?

No. FaNs is not an organisation in itself, but a movement of like minded people who choose to take an active interest in the wellbeing of care homes and their residents You can be a member of any organisation or none at all.

Can children and young people be FaNs?

Yes indeed! Children have their own section of FaNs – the FaN Club! More information coming soon.

Not only do children and young people have something very special to offer to our oldest citizens, but they also have a lot to gain. Learning; breaking down stereotypes; improving self esteem, self confidence and communication skills; building impressive CVs; gaining awards; having a lot of fun – these are some of the things that happen when children and young people come into contact with the people who live in care homes.

What do FaNs do?

FaNs can help in many different ways. They are friends and neighbours both the care homes as a whole and to the people who live in them. Some enjoy friendships and share interests with individual residents or help with activities within the home. Others offer practical help or special skills and talents to help care home staff or help care homes to make the best use of the resources their local communities have to offer. Look here for more information.

Do I have to make specific time commitment?

No. There are lots of different ways to contribute to the FaNs movement, support the care homes and the people who live in them and have fun doing so. Some roles do require a regular commitment, but for others an occasional helping hand is all that is needed. It’s entirely up to you.

Can organisations be FaNs?

Certainly. All kinds of organisations and businesses can be “corporate FaNs”, committed to supporting their local care homes in all kinds of ways. We are happy for organisations that are actively supporting FaNs to publicise their contributions and use our logo.

If I volunteer, can I choose where I work?

Of course. The link between a FaN and a care home is entirely up to the individual or organisation and the care home manager. If you would like to volunteer but don’t know where to start, however, we will be happy to help.

A lot of care homes are commercial businesses. Why should we help them?

FaNs exists for the benefit of the people who live in care homes. Many homes already work hard to build and maintain positive and fruitful links with their local communities, but they can’t do it all. Their main job is to provide accommodation, full board and personal care for their residents, many of whom are in need of very high levels of support. However good they are, it is not reasonable or desirable that they should be expected to provide for the full range of possibilities and opportunities that the wider community can open up for their residents. If we choose to help, there is so much more we can do. Of course it is good for care homes if the people who live in them enjoy a high quality of life, but that is what we all want.

Do FaNs get their expenses paid?

Care homes normally pay all the out-of-pocket expenses for FaNs helping with activities or outings. Some, but not all, may also be able to pay travel expenses to and from the home, although most FaNs live near enough for this not to be necessary. In some cases, residents themselves may be in a position to contribute. Exceptionally, if a willing FaN is prevented from contributing because of expenses, we will do our best to help.

What about refreshments?

FaNs visiting care homes can expect to be offered refreshments as appropriate to the timing of their visits.

Would I need a police check?

Adult FaNs who visit frequently may need police checks. Occasional visitors and those who do not come into contact with residents may not need them. Some FaNs who volunteer under the auspices of specific organisations (such as the MHLECA) may already have checks in place. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the care home manager to decide whether an individual visitor needs to be checked and to make the necessary arrangements.

What is a police check?

Most people having regular contact with “vulnerable adults” on a paid or voluntary basis have “police checks” in place to make sure they have no relevant police record. Some spent or minor convictions or issues are acceptable, but it is important to be sure that people living in care homes are not in any way at risk from the people who are there to help them. The police check is entirely confidential between the person concerned and the requesting organisation and the results are never disclosed to any other party. There is no charge to the volunteer.

If you have any questions about the process, please contact Debbie Tanner (Development Officer) in confidence for more information. ( or phone 0845 017 1095)

Are FaNs volunteers insured?

FaNs volunteers are covered by the insurance carried by their own organisations or the care homes themselves. If in doubt, you should check with your own organisation or with the care home.

What about insurance if I volunteer to transport people in my own car?

This is not normally classed as “business use” and most insurers are quite happy to treat this activity as part of your existing cover. However, you should always inform your insurer if you intend to act as a volunteer driver.

Is there a FaNs Code of Practice?

All FaNs are expected to act with integrity and adhere to the principles summarise in our publicity leaflets and set out below. Most importantly, FaNs must always work within the policies and procedures required by the care home or homes with which they work. The care home manager has the ultimate authority to decide who he or she wants to be involved with his or her home.

FaNs Principles

  • FaNs is inclusive and non discriminatory. Anyone, of any age, who shares our aim and values, can be a FaN
  • Organisations that support our aim can also be “corporate” FaNs
  • Individual FaNs can be members of any organisation or none
  • FaNs take a positive approach. We celebrate and build on what is good and try to help improve what is not so good
  • We respect the humanity, dignity and individuality of all those with whom we come into contact in whatever role we take as FaNs
  • We respect the right of care home residents to choice, control, privacy and confidentiality
  • We abide by the policies and rules of care homes we may visit as FaNs

Learn more about what we believe by visiting our About Us page.