Befriending Services - factsheet

A befriender is a volunteer who offers companionship and support to people who are isolated and lonely – they may visit you at home and/or phone for a regular chat.

A befriender can offer conversation and a listening ear. They can also help you get in touch with any other services and support you needs to help maintain your independence and wellbeing.

Who are befriending services for?

Befriending services are mainly for people who are mainly housebound because of their age, disability or health condition.

Please note: Other services are available if you need support to take the first steps to taking part in community based activities and social clubs

How do I get a befriending service?

You can contact any of the befriending services listed below to discuss your needs, or your social care worker may refer you. Always say if you are contacting multiple services.

They will advise you about other options if the service they provide isn’t suitable.

How long will it take to set up a service?

This depends on where you live and if you have particular preferences like:

  • days and times
  • the gender of your befriender
  • skills or interests you wish to share

Are befrienders vetted and trained?

All organisations carry out checks (including a DBS) to make sure their volunteer are suitable to work with adults who are more vulnerable because of their age, disability or health.

Volunteers are also required to complete training before starting visits.

Ongoing support is provided through the paid Befriending Coordinators, who will also carry out regular reviews.

Local Befriending Services

0118 959 4242 or

0118 950 2480

0118 995 2102

0118 929 1675

Support to help you get out and about

The following services can offer information and advice about community activities and social clubs and may accompany you on your first visit if you are anxious or worried about going alone.

Out and About Service (Age UK Berkshire)

Out and About is a free, short-term service, open to anyone aged 50+ living in the Reading Borough Council area or the Bracknell Forest Council area.

If you're interested in this service, or would like to volunteer with 'Out and About' or any of our other services for older people, please make contact.

You can contact Age UK Berkshire on 0118 959 4242 or email

AgeUK Berkshire Out and About

Page last reviewed: 08/12/2022

Contact the Team

Family Information Service 0118 937 3777 OPTION 2 0118 937 3777 OPTION 2

SEND Local Offer 0118 937 3777 OPTION 2 0118 937 3777 OPTION 2

Adult & Carers Support 0118 937 3747 0118 937 3747
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