Sands Befrienders play a vital role in offering support to bereaved families throughout the UK. Many of us know first hand how much comfort and support a Befriender can give. The reassurance of talking to someone else who has been affected by the death of a baby and who is nearby to phone or to meet is invaluable. Sands is very proud to be able to offer this service and we are hugely grateful to the many volunteers around the country on whom the service relies.

However, befriending is an emotionally demanding role, and both you and we need to be sure you are ready to take it on and have suitable support yourself. Before you apply to attend Sands Befriender Training, please make sure you can meet the following requirements:

  • At least one year should have elapsed since your own baby's death. Many of our volunteers tell us that they had no idea how the first anniversary would affect them until it happened.
  • You are linked with your nearest local Group and have attended at least 4 support meetings. This is so you can get a sense of what being a befriender involves – if there isn’t a Sands Group close to you, please contact us.

Sands Befriender Training

"I didn't realise how much support I would get from the rest of the group and Sands."

Our training programme consists of 2 courses: Part One and Part Two.

Our training days are very interactive, with exercises carried out in pairs and small groups, as well as the group as a whole.  Courses are run at locations around the UK and each day runs from 10am to 4.30pm. Dates and venues are advertised through local Groups, on our website below and Facebook.

Part One Training

"The training has given me the courage and confidence to befriend."

This two day course enables participants to develop their befriending skills. In particular they will learn how to build a safe and trusting environment in which anyone affected by the death of a baby feels supported and able to explore and express their feelings.

At the end of this course not only will the facilitators of the training be able to decide if an individual is ready to befriend, but you too will be challenged to decide if you feel ready.

How to Apply

When you contact us about training we will send you an application form to fill out and return.

Please expect acknowledgement of your form within one week of receipt.

During the pre-course period we contact your local Group to seek confirmation you have attended their support meetings and have reached a point where they feel you might be ready to offer support to others.

A crucial part of the process is to have an informal chat with Lesley Dewar, our Befriender Training Coordinator. Lesley will be able to give you much more information about the training, and help you to decide if you are ready to commit to what can be a challenging two days.

Upcoming Befriender Training Part One:


  • 30th September & 1st October, Birmingham. Closing date for applications is 2nd September
  • 7th and 8th October, Manchester. Closing date for applications is 9th September
  • 18th and 19th November, Antrim. Closing date for applications is 23rd September

To request an application form, please contact or call the office on 0207 436 7940.

Keep checking here and the Sands Facebook page for further dates.

Part Two Training

This is a one day course which Sands Befrienders are expected to attend once they have some experience of befriending through a Sands Group.

At the end of this course participants will have had an opportunity to reflect on their experiences as a Befriender and explore the more advanced aspects of the role. 

How to Apply

Part Two Training is open to individuals who have already completed Part One Training and have been befriending for at least six months to a year.

Watch this space for Part Two Befriender Training in 2017.

To request an application form, please contact or call the office on 0207 436 7940.

Keep checking here and the Sands Facebook page for further dates.