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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.

Some befrienders may be willing and able to take you out but this is usually up to the individual befriender and is not guaranteed.

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

Finding the right volunteer for you may take a while (average is 1 – 3 months)

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