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experiences of befriending

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Below are some thoughts and pictures from people who are involved in befriending. If you have a story about befriending which you would like to share on this website, please get in touch.

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Action in Mind ADSSWS Age UK Newcastle Age UK North Tyneside Amina - The Muslim Women's Resource Centre
Befrienders Highland British Red Cross - Options for Independence Broomhouse Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland Community Action Partnership
Community Network COVEY Dundee Carers Centre ECAS Friendship Works
Good Companions Befriending Scheme Headway Home Link Family Support Integr8 Kincardine and Deeside Befriending
LGBT Age LINK Link UP Mentoring / Befriending Service National Autistic Society Croydon Befriending Scheme Queensferry Churches’ Care in the Community
TCA The Food Train The Good Morning Service Voluntary Action Orkney - Adult Befriending Service York Mind Befriending Service

Action in Mind

Adult & Young Persons Befriending Services

This year, Stirling based mental health charity - Action in Mind - celebrates 20 years of providing befriending support to adults experiencing mental health difficulties. The service was extended in 2003 to offer support to children from the age of 12 years to 18 years of age.

The Action in Mind logo


Action in Mind (formerly Stirling & District Association for Mental Health) began developing its first volunteer befriending service in April 1992 and initially worked throughout the Stirling Council area and within the Alloa area. By May 1993 the service was up and running supported by a part-time coordinator, had received 25 referrals and recruited & trained 21 volunteer befrienders. Subsequent developments included the recruitment of a part-time support worker and then saw the development of a full time post as the charity under went several developmental changes. To date the service has been successfully managed, developed and supported by:
-       Four different members of staff during its lifetime (the current coordinator having been in post since May 2001).
-       1000’s of hours donated by befrienders without whom we would not have a befriending service.
-       100’s of volunteers – all from different backgrounds and stages of life.

Befriending co-ordinators Aileen Balkwill and Lynn Maher say:

“We would like to thank our brilliant volunteers for the befriending support they have provided not only over the past year but all our befrienders, past and present, who have donated countless hours of support since the Adult Befriending Service began some 20 years ago.

There are four volunteers we especially wish to mention:
-       Nigel who began in 1996, befriending right up until he sadly passed away in 2010.
-       Jackie, Action in Mind’s Volunteer of the Year 2011 who started in 1997.
-       Avril, who joined the service in 1999, (both Avril and Jackie continue to be much valued befrienders with the service and charity today).
-       Scott, AiM’s first Befriender of the Year and currently the adult befriending service’s only male befriender. (We really need more like him as he also supports a young befriendee).

We would also like to extend our thanks to our funders – Stirling Council and NHS Forth Valley for their continued support of our befriending services.

Eilidh and Ailie

Our Befriending Journey: Stirling to St, Andrews

I came to Stirling to study for a PhD in bumblebee ecology at the university and, once I’d settled in properly, I decided that I’d like to do some volunteer work. I suffered from anxiety and depression throughout my teens and college years and received a lot of support from disability services and voluntary organisations which helped me greatly. I recognised the importance of such support and wanted to volunteer for a charity that focused on helping individuals who were experiencing mental ill-health by providing care and support. I contacted the staff at AIM who was extremely approachable and informative and so my befriending journey began!

After receiving volunteer training, I went with Aileen, the adult befriending service coordinator, to meet Anne for the first time. I think we were both a little nervous but I liked Anne right away and we arranged to meet for coffee the following Saturday. That was six months ago and we’ve been meeting every week since! We share a love of coffee, cake and chats and most weeks we go for coffee in Stirling. We both like films (especially a good thriller!) and have been to the Vue cinema several times. We’ve also ventured as far the coffee shops of Dunblane and Bridge of Allan (where we were lucky enough to find the largest portion of carrot cake ever served!).

Our greatest adventure so far was our day trip to St. Andrews this September. We had a two hour bus trip from Stirling so we set off early with some brownies to keep us going! The bus took a little longer than expected with a traffic jam in Cupar and we were hungry when we arrived so we took to the high street to get some food. After a quick lunch in Greggs we decided to escape from the bustling centre and head towards the beach. It was a bright, windy day, perfect for a walk! Along the way, we discovered a little shop with picnic benches outside. Small sand dunes offered shelter and we had a restful stop with some tea and ice-cream. We were both a little weary and windswept after our walk on the beach and so when we returned to the high street we bought a magazine and a newspaper to read and set off to find a coffee shop. We came upon Bibi’s café (famed for its cupcakes!) where I ordered a mouth-tingling mint tea and Anne ordered a piece of shortbread shaped like a teapot (now I wish I’d taken I photo of it!)! Before we knew it, it was time to go catch the last bus back to Stirling. The day had flown!

I really enjoy meeting up with Anne and I hope that we have lots more coffees, cakes and adventures to come! Befriending is an extremely rewarding experience and I would recommend to anyone interested in volunteering. It’s a mutually beneficial, worthwhile activity that also happens to be good fun!

We hope you enjoyed reading our story.

Leanne & Anne

LINK - East Fife Mental Health Adolescent Befriending Project

LINK was set up in 1996 as a result of demand from service users and workers who felt there was a gap in adult mental health service provision that could be met by a befriending service. In 2003 LINK set up the Adolescent Befriending Project working with 12 - 18 year olds in East Fife and Levenmouth. The projects aim to recruit, train and support volunteers who will be matched to people who are isolated due to mental problems. Referrals to the service come from various agencies, including Health, Social Work and the Voluntary Sector.

The LINKlogo

A word on LINK from some of our young people:

I got to go out and had fun, could talk to my befriender.
      15 year old male

My befriender was so nice and understanding. It was brilliant having someone to talk to who didn't judge me or try and tell me what to do. She always had something interesting to talk about and I found it really easy to made conversation with her.
      17 year old female

My befriendee taught me there were more things to do with my day. She made me feel happy and relaxed.
      15 year old female

I learned a lot about myself. I grew in confidence and felt more able to be 'me'. I learned how to have a relationship with someone and the skills I learned with my befriender will help me in future relationships.
      17 year old female

I had fun and it gave me the chance to get out and do 'fun things' which I didn't have the opportunity to do in my life at that point. My befriender accepted me for me and made me feel wanted and appreciated.
      15 year old female

I have benefited from LINK in so many ways and it has made a huge difference to my life. Both of my befrienders have helped me to develop into a person that I once didn't think possible. I am now far happier and much more confident. I am comfortable with the person that I am and unbelievably, I actually like myself! I feel as though I can be true to myself and now realise that I don't have to pretend to be someone I am not in order to be liked. I don't think I can explain what a huge difference LINK has made to my life. I am now well on the road to recovery and I am no looking back!
      17 year old female

I don’t know what would have happened to me to be honest – when things went wrong, I didn’t ‘ like’ being around other people but through LINK, I’m sort of back to being almost me. My 3 befrienders provided me with emotional support when I needed it and never judged me, which was great. I’m really going to miss LINK.
      18 year old female

If it wasn’t for Link, I probably wouldn’t be here now.

Befrienders' views:

I liked giving my befriendee a chance to get out and about. I gained experience working with a teenager who has tested my patience and commitment to volunteering!!! I developed a good relationship with my befriendee. Although it was not always easy, we still had plenty to laugh at to balance things off. I think the most important thing I learned or at least got plenty practice of, was accepting my befriendee for who he is and not giving up on him at the first sign of trouble – so that he sees people don't always give up.

LINK offers young people dignified, respectful support that they can choose as opposed to being in receipt of ’care’ or 'treatment' that they may not fully want of be receptive to. They can also set the pace of the relationship, which gives them greater choice and sense of independence. I also gained confidence in developing my own interpersonal and communication skills. And the pleasure in seeing the young person grow and develop in confidence too!

I like being part of a service that looks after people in the community and allows me to give something back. I have gained an amazing insight into mental health services, and a good friend! Befriending exceeded all my expectations!

Extracts from Evaluation Report:

Self Esteem: I was really low and didn’t want to do anything, Since being with Link I have got happier & the support has made me feel better about my life.

I now know that I am a worthwhile person & my volunteer has helped me realise that.
Coping emotionally: Helping me to work out my problems for myself.

Having someone to share my troubles with, who wouldn’t judge me.
Isolation: I was just at home all the time, scared to go out.

I never went out and I didn’t have any friends. I wasn’t fitting in and after being at the group and having support from Link I’m getting on much better and have loads of friends.

There was nothing around for me and my befriender took me out and took me places.
Education / Training: I was not going to school because I couldn’t face it. Then when I came along to Link and got involved with my befriender and came to the trips and stuff then I started to get back into school.

It’s helped me too, I was not going to school and when I did I was just messing around. Now I’m getting on really well.
Health: I don’t know about health so much but my mental health is much better and I am much happier.

York Mind

The purpose of our befriending service at York Mind is to provide emotional support to adults whose experience of mental health difficulties or emotional distress has left them feeling socially isolated or excluded. This support is provided by trained volunteer befrienders who are matched with individuals with a view to developing a caring and supportive relationship. The befriender’s role is to model good social relationships as well as enabling the client to become more involved in the community through a range of social activities.

The York Mind logo

The aims of the befriending project are to:

  • Reduce isolation reported by individuals with mental health difficulties using the service.
  • Improve an individual’s ability to engage in and sustain new friendships.
  • Improve the mental well-being of the individuals who access the service, and promote their recovery.

Here is what some of our clients say:

“Having a befriender has given me more confidence to do small things like leave the apartment on a daily basis which was a major problem before.” “In the start it was difficult because we didn’t know what to talk about. As we started to meet up more and got to know each other it felt like it was developing into a genuine friendship. We have both agreed to stay friends after leaving the project. We have done a lot of activities and had days out at places such as Scarborough, Leeds and York doing things like shopping and visiting museums. Since I started befriending I have developed more confidence meaning I have been able to form my own friendships." “I have found that I have developed more confidence since I got involved with befriending. Meeting up regularly has helped structure my life. I have learnt I can develop lasting friendships.”
“I am going to stay friends with my befriender. Befriending is a fantastic service that has had a huge positive impact on my life and I hope the service continues to help many more people.” “I found the whole experience improved my mental health well being.” “My befriender has been wonderful - she is an inspiration and has inspired me like no-one ever has...she is amazing.”

Here is what some of our volunteers say:

“I think befriending is an excellent service where both volunteers and clients can benefit and learn and gain a new experience.” “It has been fun and enjoyable meeting some nice new people. I have enjoyed the socials and there was lots of support from the befriending team. The volunteering was very satisfying.” “I’ve really enjoyed volunteering at Mind. The training was valuable and prepared me for circumstances I wouldn’t have been prepared for before. The support from my Supervisor has been excellent especially in time when I needed her. Thank you for the experience.”

Age UK Newcastle

Our befriending service can help reduce loneliness through a regular visit from one of our volunteer befrienders, providing contact, company and conversation. Your befriender can also help and support you to get out and about, get involved in things going on in your community and make new friends, as well as possibly reconnecting with old friends.

Age UK Newcastle logo
Photo of Age UK Newcastle client - Maisie "I find Pennie a most thoughtful and considerate girl; she is always cheerful and full of chat. I look forward to Wednesdays we can always find something to chat about. She is a very lovely person." Photo of Age UK Newcastle client - Betty
Maisie Dalzeil   Betty Fleming
“They have been a rock to me; I don’t know what I would have done without their support”

“It takes away the loneliness as there is always someone there to rely on.”
  “I have made friends and built up a social network. I sometimes go on trips to the Seaside. I would encourage others to join.”

Poem from a Client:

I said to my Befriender
I am passed my best
‘Cos when the winter winds blow chill
I’ve got to wear a thermal vest

My befriender said that’s nonsense
You’re a head above the rest
And you are still attractive
Even if you wear a thermal vest

But I said my old love was special
He’d admired the way I dressed
And he’d never say he loved me
If I’d worn a thermal vest

Then I told my befriender a secret
And I didn’t say this in jest
If he comes back tomorrow
I’ll ditch this flippin’ thermal vest

by Jean, Newcastle

Integr8 Befriending Service

INtegr8 is West Lothian Youth Action Project’s Befriending Service for 10 – 21 year olds. We aim to reach some of West Lothian’s most vulnerable young people, specifically those who are experiencing issues around their mental health/well-being. Young people may have things going on in their lives such as peer or family difficulties, being bullied, feeling alone, or experiencing stress or anxiety.

The Integr8 Befriending Service logo

Liam's Story:

Liam has been involved with INtegr8 Befriending Service at WLYAP for a while now. Since Kerry became his befriender she has supported Liam to gain more confidence in himself and his abilities and to be more sociable. She has helped him to be comfortable talking about things (like his feelings), not just with her but with me too. Although I am not privy to what is discussed during sessions I have never felt isolated at all, I feel I am part of the team. So much so that I have felt able on occasions to phone Kerry and ask for her advice and help when we have had problems:

Liam has also benefitted from doing lots of fun social activities during the school holidays in a group setting, has had the opportunity to go to the Isle of Skye twice, and especially enjoys going for pizza with Kerry. Kerry has also enabled Liam to have extra contact with his sister by having joint sessions with her and her befriender.

All in all, I have to say that I am delighted at the way Kerry's work with Liam has benefitted him, and me, and I am grateful we were able to be involved in what I consider to be an important and extremely valuable resource.
Linda (Carer)

Kerry gave me self-confidence and I got out more. It was really good. I really like Kerry as a befriender because I can tell her anything and she listens. Kerry used to take me to Pizza Hut. We've been to Laserquest and go-karting and 10-pin bowling and horse riding and Skye.
Liam (Befriendee)

Brief of befriending experience from Agata and Rebbecca:

Rebbecca and Agata at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh at the Introduction to Astronomy days- Stargazing night 28/10/12 I and Rebbecca have been having sessions for six months now. I have taken up befriending because I wanted to give something back to the community. I have been met with kindness and many opportunities since my arrival to Scotland and now it is time to give back.

The whole experience has been very enriching and I could not have asked for a better befriendee. It would be a mistake to perceive befriending as a benefit for only one of the party’s involved. This has been a mutual growth, development and learning process and I always look forward to our meetings. There are times where managing work, everyday activities and befriending can be demanding however witnessing the positive changes and Rebbecca’s mature take on life always make me realise that it is worth the effort. Throughout this experience I have learnt that sometimes it is not about coming up with the greatest ideas for activities but just spending time and listening. There are also times when Rebbecca keeps me right and looks out for me which only proves that we have developed a great relationship. I would recommend befriending to anyone who wants to give some of their time as they will definitely receive more in return!


The Befriending Project offers a service to adults with acquired brain injuries (Members), their carers and families in the City of Edinburgh. The work of the project involves matching a Member to a trained volunteer befriender and supporting them to meet regularly and get out and about in the community.

The Edinburgh Headway Group logo
Members' Responses:    
"I’ve made a new friend and it’s expanded my life." "Takes me out of my routine. To have someone to talk to on a regular basis. To do an activity I would not be able to manage if by myself." "Meeting and getting out and getting back to a ‘normal’ life before my stroke."
Volunteers' Responses:    
"It is wonderful when you connect with your befriendee and work towards goals. Seeing their progress and being part of their journey is a rewarding experience and something you must earn." "I feel supported. Even though befriending is a one-to-one activity I know I have the support of the project behind me so I feel more comfortable and confident in my role." "It is good to know you are helping even if it is in a small way. It’s nice to know that they trust you and value your friendship."
Carers' Responses:    
"Headway has always been there for [my son]. He’s looking forward to attending the Social Group outings." "Headway has helped me a lot with [my husband] and I don’t know where I would be without it." "This is an essential service which needs to be there early on for the patient and the Carer."
  "The befriending project has given the person that I care for another social outlet to access. My dear friend does not have so many friends/contacts out with the staff paid to support him and therefore the need for an activity is crucial to his social development. Another important factor is that the Befriender does not work for an official authority and my friend appreciates the 'freedom' of not being with an 'official' person. It is also secure for me to know that my friend is in safe hands and I can utilise this time to pursue something for myself. We both appreciate the service supplied and are hoping to utilise this programme in the future again."  

One Member's Story:

After spending some considerable time in various hospital wards the Doctors and medical staff said 'going home is probably the best thing for you'. They had done the medical stuff associated with stroke recovery and now I (and my parents) had to get into gear and move forward. Good but pretty scary!!

The scary feeling was combated by the staff of the Headways Group and their idea of befriending... In theory it sounds simple but in practice must be really hard...

The first meeting must be pretty stressful for all concerned. From the Headways point of view they must want things to go smoothly; the Befriender must feel like the are preparing to attend a work interview and the befriendie must feel a little tense to say the least, even nervous I guess...

I always have concerns; will I struggle with something to say and make myself and the befriender uncomfortable; will I remember to talk and listen to what they have got to say; what will they think of me?; what am I going to think of them? After the initial slightly bumbling five minutes the befriender and I didn't shut-up for about an hour!! In retrospect it all felt very natural and not clinical in any way; just like two mates chatting. I could almost imagine an inaudible sigh of relief from all those present, success......

I think that I've gained a lot from the befriending process. In a way it is quite understandably that after a big medical process it is very important for an individual to do stimulating things in a safe controlled fashion. Doing these things feels like a step back into normal life not to mention giving carers a break.

I guess I have been very lucky to have such great folk overseeing this process. I would call those people involved friends now. Not just those who help administer the process but the folk that volunteer their precious time.

I find it difficult to express how much I've benefited from my involvement in the scheme and I can never say enough about the whole scheme. Doing something so simple makes what might be a nerve wracking process achievable. This is all made possible by the efforts of some very caring, hardworking folk. I'd just like to say that it is such great scheme; one that can really make a difference for those involved, for patients, for family, for befrienders and befriending staff, FANTASTIC.............

Click here to read the full story (PDF format).

Alcohol and Drug Support South West Scotland

Transitions Towards Tomorrow – Befriending offers a range of support for people isolated from normal daily life as a result of alcohol or drugs problems.

The ADS logo
A photograph sent in by ADSSWS A photograph sent in by ADSSWS A photograph sent in by ADSSWS

ADS Peer Support group Learning with Horses Workshop at Mossburn Animal Sanctuary

Our Peer Support group is made up of service users recovering from substance misuse. On the journey over to Hightae a lot of discussion was taking place in the bus, some individuals were a bit anxious whilst other more horsey minded people were really excited.

We were asked to form a huge circle and the horses wandered around us. It was interesting that the two horses seemed to sidle up to the people who were more anxious, as if to reassure them. We took part in a number of exercises with the horses, and were encouraged to relate the horse’s movements to our own life journeys. Over the two hour period that we were with the animals it became more and more evident how beneficial this could be:

“I thoroughly enjoyed the day, was great to see how the horse activities could be related to your own personal journey.”

“The whole environment and the fact that there were other animals there was therapy in itself.”

“A fantastic way of building your own confidence and self esteem, and for team building.”

ADS Befriending Challenge Shield

In September, Stranraer Bowling Club played host to the first ever ADS Befriending Challenge Shield. The Befriending Service trains and supports volunteers to help reduce isolation and encourage participation in normal everyday activities. Those who are disadvantaged by their current or past addictions and lifestyle throughout Dumfries and Galloway can benefit. The day kicked off with a coaching session... then the gloves were off as Stranraer took on Dumfries in a fun but serious 4 end competition. Stranraer narrowly missing out by 1 shot to Dumfries.

ADS was delighted but not surprised by the generosity and support offered. Janice Cowan, Volunteer Development Officer for the West explained:
“Finding volunteers to support people with alcohol and drug problems can be very challenging. Stranraer and the surrounding area has a wonderful community spirit and people are very interested and keen to come forward to help and support.”

The Broomhouse Centre

The Broomhouse Befriending Service supports elderly frail people and elderly people with dementia in their own homes. The service provides a one-hour visiting service once a week on a regular basis and is available to people who live in the south-west of Edinburgh.

The Broomhouse Youth Befriending Project is a voluntary project, which recruits, trains and supports volunteer Befrienders for young people affected by parental substance misuse aged 5-18.

The Broomhouse Centre logo
A photograph sent in by Broomhouse Befriending   A photograph sent in by Broomhouse Befriending

National Autistic Society Croydon Befriending Scheme

Our volunteers visit families and do fun activities at home or in the community with their child.

The National Autistic Society logo
Feedback from Families:    
"We have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity of receiving his time which has been invaluable to not only my son but me. My son has matured and grown as a direct contribution from his befriender for which I will be eternally grateful. A true success story... it is without doubt one of the most positive experiences we have encountered to date following so many disappointing things tried." "Now we have a befriender I don’t feel guilt that I can’t give my son 100% of me! There has been a very positive outlook on his feelings and achievements and befriending helps to promote his relationship with other people outside our family. We are extremely lucky to have her and we all look forward to her next visit!" "I wanted my son to have a role model and the volunteer has been ideal, he took responsibility for organising the meetings and what they did which was a nice break for me. He is a wonderful young man and it has been a pleasure knowing him - he has been wonderful organising afternoons out with my son. Thank you for making this possible. It has been a good time for all of us."
"I find I can relax and enjoy myself knowing that my daughter is having fun with an understanding, responsible adult who is there solely for her." "She is a lovely, caring, charming and happy person. My son is very lucky to have some 1 to 1 time with her. We will always be grateful for the experience she has given to him." "Having a befriender has been brilliant. I get a chance to spend time with my other children, as well as a chance to get a few precious hours to myself."
"I can’t tell you how important this is for my son. He doesn’t have a circle of friends that he can call on, so the highlights of his week are always the special needs youth club he attends and his get-togethers with his befriender." "The experience has been wholly positive." "Without a befriender I wouldn’t have been able to do the courses that have enabled me to get a job. I just couldn’t have done it without her. It has given me my life back!"
Feedback from Volunteers:    
"I’ve been able to do activities I wouldn’t normally do and feel befriending gives me a sense of satisfaction and achievement."   "I really feel that I am doing something valuable... the work is rewarding and often great fun too."

Stories from the NAS Befriending Scheme:
(All names have been changed to protect confidentiality.)

Simon, a volunteer, is matched to Tim, a 14 year old with Asperger Syndrome. They do things like shop for clothes (Tim would never do that with his own parents!), talk about cars and watch Only Fools and Horses. They like to try things that Tim has never had a chance to do before - Simon has even introduced Tim to karate. Tim was finding it hard to adjust to being a teenager, and his ASD meant that it was hard for him to make friends and therefore get out and have fun. Simon has become someone he can talk to about his problems, and to do new activities with. Simon recently said: “I enjoy befriending and would just like to thank everybody for this wonderful experience”.

Sophie, a young woman, has been befriending Colin for almost two years. Her visit records have illustrated his development from a shy teenager to a confident and outgoing young man. There have been some funny moments along the way, such as when Colin would phone Sophie at all times of the day and night. One day Sophie told him that calling at midnight was unacceptable, and the next night he phoned at 1am, taking her literally and thinking this would be acceptable as it was not 12! They enjoy visiting restaurants and pubs, and Colin has even been performing at open mic sessions that he attends with Sophie! She is a friend to the whole family, and often will spend time with them all. Many of our volunteers go on to be long term family friends.

E-befriending is just as important. Jenny has been befriending Michael for 5 months. Jenny works full time and chose to e-befriend as it fits around her other commitments, but still can make a huge difference to someone who is feeling isolated. Michael recently wrote to me that: “I really appreciate her e-mails. I have nothing but praise for the service. I have found it hard in the past to make friends so having an e-befriender is great. I feel that she is always there.”

Age UK North Tyneside

Whether you are an individual or part of a small group wanting to extend your social network, we aim to put people first and help them make more of life. There is no need to feel lonely or isolated. We have a willing group of volunteers or befrienders who can help you.

Age UK North Tyneside logo

Radio Newcastle Broadcast – ‘Does befriending work?’

On Tuesday 11 September we invited a group of befrienders and befriendees to our Cedar Grove Wellbeing Centre to record a radio broadcast for our local radio station. The presenter of the programme was very keen to get first hand opinions from our customers on whether befriending works and what it is like to be isolated or lonely. The resounding response was that ‘yes’ befriending definitely works and befriendees that were interviewed had very positive comments to make about the relationships they had built up with their befrienders, and the variety of things that they did with them and how their general wellbeing was improved.

Everybody involved thoroughly enjoyed being part of the broadcast, meeting up with other befriendees and having a tasty lunch and ‘off air natter and laugh’ with Jonathan Miles the radio presenter.

As a spin off from this one of our befriendees was talking about how he used to be an Art lecturer and how he missed those days. Not being one to miss an opportunity Angela our Wellbeing Centre Manager asked him if he would like to go to the Centre on a weekly basis as she had some customers who would love to try and develop their art skills. Harry agreed in a flash as it would give him something else to look forward to each week, help make him feel useful again, get out of his house and meet up with other people and generally build his self confidence. Angela is extremely grateful as it gives her another activity to offer at her Centre, and Harry is starting to feel good about himself again.

How is that for a WIN WIN situation!!

“I know I am contributing to my befriendee's wellbeing” whilst it “improves my social & listening skills.” “I feel as though I’m helping someone who might otherwise be lonely which I would myself dislike.” “Feeling you’re putting something back into community by visiting someone who is lonely.”
“It’s a way of getting out for a breath of fresh air.” “I give support and stop my befriendee worrying about matters.”

The Good Morning Service

A multi-award winning charity, Good Morning provides a unique daily telephone befriending and alert service whereby each day Telephone Befrienders call out to vulnerable older people. Telephone Befrienders alert to potential health problems at an early stage when a call remains unanswered and when a deterioration in health is detected. Launched in 2000, our light touch support service has given older people the confidence to live alone, retaining their independence to live in their own home and community.

Good Morning logo
“My life has inevitably slowed down, but Good Morning has helped me feel re-connected to life as it used to be. My children live abroad, old friends are mostly no longer alive and so I find Good Morning has opened up a lovely new world for me.”
Dorothy, 86 years
“Gives you something to look forward to. Here's this voice - full of concern – it gives the day a kick start. Makes you feel good.”
Sarah, 82 yrs
“I really like to be independent and knowing Good Morning are there should I need them makes life easy”
Sophia, 97
“It helps me in positive thinking and makes each day a good day!”
Jimmy, 84
“Best thing is knowing that someone checks that I'm able to cope that day and to have a cheery voice to speak to! It gives me confidence to live alone. I don't feel isolated.”
Mairi, 93 yrs
“If I've a bad night they will listen to me complaining. My call encourages me to face the day if I am feeling low. Good Morning helps me to be independent and live life to the full.”
Sheila, 79
Telephone Befrienders Bernie, Jeanette and Andy
Telephone Befrienders Bernie, Jeanette and Andy
  Get Together visit to the Scottish Parliament
Get Together visit to the Scottish Parliament
“My independence means a lot to me. I can rely on a call every morning, and it makes me feel good. Being a member is helping me to live independently without fear.”
Jane, 83
“I have more confidence now and I can go out and about more than I did. I find life more interesting.”
Jane, 82
“Good Morning makes me feel cared about: they are just like the family I never had.”
June, 78
“I live my life differently because they make me feel confident. I know if I have a problem I can tell the caller about it...I feel I know them and they know me.”
Harry, 79
“The best thing about being a member is the feeling that you care, and devote your time and patience to us.”
Helen, 80
“As I seldom leave the house (I can't walk far) I feel I am part of a small community. Also, the Good Morning Team helps keep me positive on bad pain days.”
Jean, 72

Community Network

Community Network is a social enterprise which supports individuals to become better socially connected through forming peer supported telephone friendship groups. The groups are currently funded to support older adults and are used to talk about a variety of interesting things. Each group is supported by a trained volunteer telephone group facilitator.

The Community Network logo

A letter from a Community Network member

“I thought I was the only one, but since joining a group, I know that I am not alone… I feel renewed after each group - I cannot wait for next week.”   “I was really anxious on my first call; we were all strangers but at the end of the sessions we made really good friends who have been a support system to me. That’s what the telephone friendship groups do. The group has helped my health, communications skills and help me make new friends who have had a positive impact in my life.”
Susan, 81 years   Brenda, 74 years


Ros: Since joining Ecas in May 2010 as Befriending Project Manager I couldn’t have hoped for a more rewarding role. My first few months involved getting to know the volunteer Befrienders and their Befriendees and I soon discovered that Befriending has so many additional benefits that I’d never even thought of!

The greatest learning I discovered was how much our volunteers gain on a personal level from the important role they carry out. Many can relate to the feeling of being lonely at some time in their life. Some have suffered illness or trauma or even have a disability themselves which has affected their ability to work – being a Befriender gives them confidence and structure to their lives once again. Other volunteers just simply find it very fulfilling to help someone else.

“I enjoy spending time with someone who is in a very different situation from people in my day to day life”  Volunteer

The benefits to our Befriendees are fairly clear – most of them rarely see anyone in their day to day lives other than carers or the odd family member popping by. Many have said that the best thing they get from Befriending is the certainty that someone will be coming to see them each week no matter what, and most importantly this person is unpaid to do so and therefore wants to be there. Befriendees are quite often able to do things that they haven’t done for years and wouldn’t be doing without the help of their Befriender eg one gentleman’s goal was to be able to “get back on a bus again” – he had lost his confidence to go on his own so hadn’t been on one for years. He now goes on a bus with his Befriender almost every week because his Befriender is someone he feels he can trust. It never fails to amaze me how Befriending (such a simple notion in itself on the whole!) can have such an astounding impact on people’s lives.

“It’s great to see someone other than carers; my Befriender is honest, intelligent and good company. Seeing her even gives me the motivation to cook sometimes!” Befriendee
Ros with her team of volunteer Befrienders on a focus group social day.
Ros with her team of volunteer Befrienders on a focus group social day.
Jenny receiving a volunteer award on behalf of all the Ecas Befrienders at this year’s ‘Inspiring Volunteer Awards’.
Jenny receiving a volunteer award on behalf of all the Ecas Befrienders at this year’s ‘Inspiring Volunteer Awards’.
Jenny: “Befriending has been a fantastic experience for me at a time in my life when I needed it most. With 3 children and a dog I wasn't sure how it would fit into my life but it was just what I needed to relax, and have fun doing things I didn't normally do. I look forward to seeing my befriendee every week and we have become good friends.”
Roy: “If it wasn’t for my reliable befriender I wouldn’t be able to see new places. Edi is great at organising places for us to go. He is a breath of fresh air, respectful of my opinions and is always there when I need him” Photo of Roy and Edi on a Befriending trip to North Berwick together
Photo of Roy and Edi on a Befriending trip to North Berwick together.
Edi: “It feels really good to give back something to society and help someone else. I’m always excited to see Roy and becoming a Befriender has helped me improve my communication skills and empathy."
Photo of Donald with his Befriendee on a summer day trip to the Scottish Seabird Centre.
Photo of Donald, who has been a befriender with Ecas for more than 2 years, with his Befriendee on a summer day trip to the Scottish Seabird Centre.
Donald: “Befriending allows me to focus positively and put my own strengths into practice. I get a wonderful sense of achievement from it and it has helped my own confidence.”
David: David used to have a Befriender and now he is one! His story is real evidence of how Befriending can help someone reduce their isolation and become an active part of the community again:

“Lonely and isolated, I needed a helping hand. I needed a guide to get more social contact, social interaction and get more satisfaction out of life. A Befriender was the only one to help and encourage me to reach out to the world again.

After having 2 Befrienders, it was suggested I myself become a volunteer Befriender! Becoming a volunteer was brilliant. To be able to help and listen to others and then encourage them to have more social contact helped my own interaction and friendships to become real. It’s important that volunteer Befrienders also get something for themselves – it makes being a Befriender even more worthwhile.”

Since having a Befriender, David has become a volunteer Befriender, started an art class, joined a local drama group and even made his own music album! (as well as many more activities…)
Photo of David enjoying a Befriender focus group and social day on the canal.
David enjoying a Befriender focus group and social day on the canal.
Photo of Danielle
Danielle: “I joined Ecas as a befriender over a year ago now and absolutely totally value the time I spend with my befriendee. The match made by Ecas was perfect and I know that I have found a friend for life. I am still relatively new to Edinburgh and together we get to enjoy all the tourist hot spots - my befriendee offers expert local knowledge and humour to our trips. I am in awe of the strength of character that my befriendee shows and always look forward to being greeted by her huge and endearing smile. Life is meant for sharing experiences and Ecas has made that possible for me and my befriendee. We would never have met if it wasn't for Ecas.”
Photo of Shaista with her carer on a trip to the beach with Danielle (Danielle was taking the picture!)
Shaista with her carer on a trip to the beach with Danielle (Danielle was taking the picture!)
Shaista: “Our friendship has enlightened me by giving me hope and joy that there is life outside the home. Danielle has reintroduced me to the world.”

Voluntary Action Orkney - Adult Befriending Service

Young People’s Befriending Project

Voluntary Action Orkney’s Young People’s Befriending Project has been working with young people in Orkney since July 2008. Since this time, locally trained volunteers have given tailored, 1to1 support and care to children and young people from various parishes and islands around Orkney. The Project aims to help young people across the county who are vulnerable or isolated for any number of reasons. By providing these young people with a trained and committed Befriender, the Project aims to help to increase their personal development opportunities, self esteem and confidence and their feelings of self-worth and value.

The Project is always looking to expand the work that it does and to increase the number of young people that it can help. To do this, the Project relies on the great work, commitment and dedication of its wonderful team of volunteers. The Befriending Project is always looking for new recruits and relies on new volunteers coming forward to be matched to the young people currently on the Project’s waiting list. The Co-ordinator, John Clancy, is set to start another training course late November, and is looking for interested people to get in touch. You don’t need qualifications to be a Befriender, just enthusiasm, a caring nature, a sense of humour, an interest in working with young people and a few hours to spare each fortnight.

Although there are some group events, the quality of this project is in the 1 to 1 time that the young person gets with their befriender. The young people enjoy the stability and consistency that their Befriender brings with their fortnightly outings. It is mostly activity based, so they can take part in lots of different kinds of activities which they decide on together, from swimming, football, badminton or other sports, to visits to the beach, the library, a coffee shop, the museum, or a local show or festival if the season’s right.

Both volunteers and young people get a lot out of their time spent befriending. One volunteer recently commented, ‘I get a great deal of pleasure from volunteering with the Project. Watching my young person blossom is very rewarding.’. Another said, ‘It’s a fantastic thing to do for both me and my befriendee.’ And another commented that ‘the Project has surpassed my expectations.’

The young people also have many opportunities to have their opinions on the Project and their match heard. Recently a young person commented, ‘I like having someone who I can trust and speak my mind to. I think you did very well in matching us up together.” Another said, “I like it because I get to do something and Patricia makes me feel happy.”

For more information, an informal chat, or an application form, please call John at VAO on 872897, or email

This project has recently received new funding for the next two to three years from Lloyds TSB & The Big Lottery – Young Start

Brief case study of Befriending


Today, I had the pleasure of reviewing a befriending match with Jane. Jane was matched with a recently trained befriender approximately 2 months ago, and this was her first review. Jane greeted me at the door with an excited glow about her, and was very keen and eager to talk about the difference that the befriending service already had made in her life. “I get on very well with Louise.” She told me.

As Jane went on, she explained that she has strict, medical, dietary requirements, and that being blind, she has a very hard time reading labels when she goes shopping with her guide dog. Of course, we were aware of this, when we matched her with Louise, who is vegan. For Louise, nutrition and diet are very central to her lifestyle, and so the pair instantly were able to find common ground with this topic.

“My health has already improved, as I have been able to go shopping with Louise, and she is very knowledgeable about the very types of diets that I want to be in. In fact, I used to be a vegan myself, and I find it suits me very well.” Jane told me.

And, while I was very excited that we were making a difference in someone’s health, I wanted to know how Jane was faring with feelings of isolation, before and after befriending—so I asked her about it. She told me, “Most people that I was friendly with have either moved away or died. Next door is a holiday home and my other neighbours just aren’t interested. And being blind presents social problems. When I go out into town, I can’t see people, and they don’t realize that they need to speak to me first, or I won’t know they are there. I have had people tell me, you walked right by me on the street, and I tell them, ‘you need to tell me that you are there, because I can’t see you’."

Jane went on to tell me how much she enjoys Louise’s company, and it was apparent that she knows that Louise enjoys hers. It is fabulous that Jane feels better health-wise as a result of her diet adjustments, but it is equally significant that she reports feeling better as a result of having someone to talk to. This is one of those situation where the social isolation is brought about by an invisible barrier, quite literally—blindness. Thankfully the befriending service was referred, a suitable match was found, and a person’s life was impacted.

The benefits I have gained from being a volunteer with Orkney Befriending service

I didn’t realise it at the time, but looking back at the start of becoming a befriender I myself was isolated. I had moved to Orkney a few years ago and had been a stay at home Mum who at that time didn’t know many people.

I signed up to do befriending as I was interested in making a difference to people’s lives and was also keen to do community voluntary work so I could gain some experience and skills for when I go back to ‘paid employment away from the home’

At the first session of the befriending training, I realised that I lacked a bit of confidence. But equally I really enjoyed being part of a group and enjoyed going to the training and gaining an insight of befriending. It was interesting and it felt good to get my teeth back into something I was interested in other than parenthood and household duties.

I attended an open day where VAO had a stall and held some talks. It was really refreshing and I walked home ‘buzzing’ feeling like I was doing something for just me. I felt pleased with myself that I was getting my confidence back.

The befriending itself has been great; I have gained more and more confidence talking with people from different walks of life. It has been a real ‘eye opener’ to how lonely people can be and how people can be forgotten.

I am enjoying the feeling that someone enjoys and looks forward to my visits as much as I enjoy having my time once a week and spending it with the befriendee.

I know first hand that by seeing people and being involved in the community you don’t only feel less isolated and lonely but can feel more upbeat and confident.

The greatest thing for me as a befriender is having a sense of satisfaction seeing that I really am making a difference to a person’s life, and by seeing them smiling and gaining a little bit of independence, making choices and that by having company makes it so worth while.

In the last year since becoming a befriender I have come a long way, I now attend a few groups and have built up friendships with new people. I am much more confident, look forward to going back to ‘paid work away from home’ and have gained a real passion for befriending.

British Red Cross - Options for Independence

The Organisation

As part of the British Red Cross, Options for Independence, works with people in crisis. People may be in crisis for many reasons:

What we do

Options for Independence is staffed by professional social care workers who support people with a physical disability to enable them to live as independently as possible in their own home. Their home might be within our residential complex in Irvine or their own tenancy in the community.

The Care in the Home volunteer Project

The amount of paid support time our service users receive can be limited by financial constraints. This means people receive support for their care and to build independence skills. However in order to live life as fully as possible extra support time to take part in social activities greatly enhances the quality of life for our service users. This aim of this project is to extend the support given to people. Volunteers are fully trained and carefully matched to service users. They provide companionship, and enable service users to take part in activities in their home or in out in the community. This support gives the people we help the opportunity to live life as fully as possible.

photo sent in by British Red Cross - Options for Independence photo sent in by British Red Cross - Options for Independence
photo sent in by British Red Cross - Options for Independence

The Food Train

Food Train Friends is a befriending service providing trips out, home visits and telephone calls, bringing some fun, laughter, friendship and social contact to older people in need who live in Dumfries and Galloway.

The Food Train logo
  Photos from The Food Train's celebration of Older Peoples Day 2012  
photo sent in by Food Train Friends photo sent in by Food Train Friends photo sent in by Food Train Friends  
  "I feel like I have known Roger all of my life."

Quote from a befriendee ‘Friend’ about their new befriender after only three weeks.

Queensferry Churches’ Care in the Community

Our organisation provides support to older people within the community through Day care, befriending and carer support. The befriending service relieves social isolation for older people living alone. It can also provide respite for carers.

Click here to find out what Queensferry Churches' Care in the Community has organised for Befriending Week.

Queensferry Churches’ Care in the Community logo
“Initially I was reluctant to have a befriender but now he is a good friend."

matched with a befriender June 2010
“I enjoy the company and someone to talk to, we talk about lots of different things. I really enjoy the visits.”

matched with a befriender January 2012
“I enjoy the companionship and the blether. I look forward to every visit.”

matched with a befriender April 2004

Amina - The Muslim Women's Resource Centre

Amina MWRC works with mainstream agencies and policy makers, to enhance their understanding of the Muslim community and of barriers that prevent Muslim women from accessing services and participating in society. We provide direct helping services and community development to Muslim women.

Muslim Women's Resource Centre logo

Case Study

Mrs A is a 54 year old, married women and a mother of 4 children. She has had various worries for years but has never before sought professional help for herself. Mrs A has spent years caring for her son who has Autistic spectrum disorder. For the last 23 years, Mrs. A has struggled to cope with the demanding behaviours displayed by her son, which has caused her extreme anxiety and increased levels of stress resulting in feelings of loneliness.

Since joining the befriending programme, Mrs A has shown increased levels of confidence appears to be much happier and content. Mrs A receives one to one befriending once a week, giving her the opportunity to open up and talk about her feelings, which has resulted in positive mental stability due to her consistent and reliable befriender.

Following this Mrs A felt confident enough to access support through telephone befriending, which she now receives fortnightly. This has given her the confidence to discuss any issues and ask for further support. Mrs A now also participates in group befriending which helps her to independently access community facilities and make new friends. As Mrs. A has no family she feels this Project has been a “life saver”.

Speech bubbles for Eid Pamper Day

“This is an opportunity for us to talk about our concerns." “I look forward to my call because it helps me speak about things that have been troubling me while I am the only carer for my husband and it can get very difficult sometimes.” “I hope this continues as this is something I really look forward to come to.”
“I like my one to one support with my Befriender, being in a wheelchair I am restricted to what I can do spending time with my Befriender who is very creative and encouraging, in my last visit we played chess.”   “I have a good time when I come to the lunch club. I enjoy other women’s company; it provides good opportunity to get to know other people. I am happy with all the group activities and my favourite is the lunch club; this makes me feel I’m having a break from my caring role.”

Friendship Works

Friendship Works is the oldest children’s mentoring charity in the UK. We believe that all children deserve to have a supportive childhood and the opportunity to fulfil their potential. In 1977 we pioneered long-term mentoring to provide adult support for children across London who have missed out on the life chances some take for granted.

We work with families in the London Boroughs of Camden, Islington and Southwark. The children we help are between 5-16 years of age, and they all need more support in their life. They might face financial hardship, domestic violence, alcohol or drug misuse, social isolation, divorce or bereavement. They need additional adult guidance to help them develop and grow.

Friendship Works logo

Photo of Selina

Selina is 26 and was matched with Sally as a mentor when she was just 4. After over 21 years of friendship, Selina tells us what makes mentoring special.

"As a child, I didn’t know a great deal about the process that Friendship Works goes through to match volunteers with the child they will be mentoring. But I do remember the first time I met Sally. I took her by the hand, asked her if she would be my friend and led her off to show her my bedroom – that was over 21 years ago!

I was only 4 years old, a little younger than the normal age of children supported by Friendship Works these days. Even though I was only 4, I remember just how well we got on – but I never could have imagined that we would still have a firm friendship in her, both myself and my family. My sister has just as many memories of Sally as I do. She was a part of our family.

As I got older I became even more appreciative to be matched with someone like her. We both always said that the reason our friendship lasted so long was because we had so much in common, even back then. We both love to read, and go to the theatre and we both cry way too much at soppy films. I will always remember the time we sat down to watch Homeward Bound when I was maybe about 9 years old – I was trying to fight back the tears until I looked over and saw Sally balling her eyes out. From then on I knew that I needn’t hide it any longer. And believe me, I haven’t – just ask my sister!

The thing I admire most in Sally is that she is an advocate for trying new things, challenging herself, and in turn gave me a lot of different opportunities, and has meant that I have a very similar mindset now. I will always be grateful to her for that. She taught me to sew and took me to my first musical.

I was always in awe of her exciting and busy lifestyle; she travelled the world, and lived in this huge city where she had such a successful career but somehow always had time for me. This has had such an impact on my life, especially now that I embark upon my own career in the same city. Her ongoing support makes this seem so very possible.

Sally has very recently moved to Dubai with her husband and two beautiful little boys. Even with her own children, in a different country I always know that she is someone that I can depend on and I would like to personally thank her for that.

As I got older I came to realise that Sally was also a huge support to my Mum who was a single Mum at the time, particularly when there was lots going on at home. Not only do I have a friendship in Sally, but so does my Mum, and our family, and I really believe that is why we have lasted so long.

On behalf of myself, Sally and my family, I would also like to say a massive thank you to Friendship Works for matching us, and for their support over the last 21 years."

Dundee Carers Centre

The Dundee Carers Centre provides information and support to unpaid carers of all ages and disabled people. One way of doing this is through our befriending service. Our befrienders give support to a carer or the cared for person, to help make the caring role easier.

Dundee Carers Centre logo
“Becoming a volunteer befriender has not only helped the carer I befriend, but also benefits myself. It allows us both to get out of the house and be in a different environment each week.” "Since starting befriending, my confidence has grown when working with children. I've explored new places and I have made a new friend!" “I quite enjoy meeting with my befriendee. We both get something out of our visits and it gives us both a boost. I myself got a lot of support from the Dundee Carers Centre and want to be able to give something back”
“As well as giving time to the befriendee, I get an enormous amount of joy being a befriender. It is a two way system and I get so much out of our visits. I would miss it if I wasn’t doing it." “Being a Befriender doesn’t mean that you are a professional, but you are a good friend. You are a constant in that person’s life and are there to listen to them and have a chat.” “Being a befriender is mutually beneficial for both myself and to the person I befriend. It is all about getting to know each other and learning about each others lives. Befriending gives the befriendee and outside interest away from their own life and a break from their everyday role.”

Home Link Family Support

Home Link Family Support provides a befriending service for families with pre-school age children and therapeutic family support in Midlothian for families with children under 12 years.

Home Link Family Support logo
  photo sent in by Home Link Family Support  
“By volunteering with Home Link I can put something into the community and get a reward back by giving me a purpose and getting me out of the house.” "Because “A” comes at the beginning of the week. It gives me the strength to carry on for rest of the week. It also helps me to have a clearer view. I can see clearer having had someone to talk to." “I noticed a real difference in the kids and this was hugely rewarding. Mum thanked me for the difference the visits had made, and it was wonderful to see how only a couple of hours a week of my own time was helping the family.”
"The children love having her round to play – it gives them something to look forward to as we have no family here. It has helped us to feel more settled." “She is better than my therapist because she lets me talk about what I want and she doesn’t put me under pressure.” "I have had many organisations work with me and my family and I have found HLFS are second to none, the support they offer is amazing and have helped me immensely. The people at HLFS are so kind, caring and very helpful."

Community Action Partnership

Community Action Partnership's befriending service (Blaby District Befrienders) supports the increasing number of older people who are physically frail, otherwise disabled and/or socially isolated through the recruitment, training and placement of volunteer befrienders who provide one-to-one support for their clients.

Community Action Partnership logo

For Lucille

How lucky was I, to have tripped into your life
A husband passed, no children born, an isolated lonely wife
A surge of courage from me, to do something different and to meet someone new
So at half past five on a Tuesday night in November, I was introduced to you

From that very first doorstep smile, I knew we'd get along just fine
Having no idea of what this dear old lady, would come to mean to me in time
You said on many occasions, I brought out the maternal instincts in you
In you I found a ready made grandmother, which meant I was back up to two!

I try not to be sad when I realise you have really gone,
as I know you're somewhere safe and happy, back in the arms of Ron
When I reflect on our times together and I struggle to hold back the tears,
I remind myself how privileged I've been to know you, even if for two short years

Good bye for now Lucille, take care dear friend
From everyone here today and those that are not, our deepest love we send
There are people that cross our lives, in tiny fractions of time,
in the briefest of encounters, and yet they leave an indelible mark in our hearts, and in our minds.

photo sent in by Blaby District Befrienders project image sent in by Blaby District Befrienders project photo sent in by Blaby District Befriendersproject
“Mum loves Margaret, She is so kind and has given mum great company, advice and runs crucial errands for her. She deserves a medal as she is also busy herself and makes time to brighten my mum’s day, which Margaret does so well.” “I am very pleased when it is 10.30 am on Saturdays, Linda arrives with a big smile, her visit brings an end to my sadness!” “Darrell is a real godsend. He has become a very good, caring friend. He has been a real lifeline.”
  “Smashing, unbelievable, super. I feel we have known each other all our lives. We’ve have been to the visitor centre at Bradgate Park which I’ve not been to before and yesterday went to Beaumont Leys and had something to eat in Subway another place I have never been to. I bought some things in Wilko and so did Ann which is nice for me because then it is teamwork and not just someone following me around. It’s then fun.”  


Summer Programme 2012

This year the Klub joined forces with the Boys group and developed a fun programme that was packed with activities everyone would enjoy. For an energizing start we went to the Ardler Community Complex, where we let off lots of steam playing different ball games and a few warm up games. These games showed that we had good team spirit and were ready for challenges, some among us REALLY wanted to win. This team spirit carried forward to the next popular event, Paintballing at Auchterhouse. We were kitted up to look like real territorial soldiers and some of us played the role very well. Despite being shot and nursing bruises we had great fun, even one of the ladies showed she was a ‘die-hard’ she was one of the last ‘men’ standing.. Quad Biking was the most desired activity and continues to be an amazing experience for most. However some preferred to do Segwaying and they were not disappointed. This was another fun day and most of us came home feeling confident and happy but keen to do it again, can’t wait until next year!! Day 4 we set off again but this time a more relaxed event we went to Craigton Park, considering the kind of summer we have had God blessed us with the good days and we had a really enjoyable time at the park. Man-hunt was the favourite game and for those of us that are a wee bit older it connected us with the ‘child’ within, it was brill. Then to finish the day nicely we visited St Andrews Beach and had ice cream, we wished we could have stayed longer.

The members of the group that are water babies and enjoy getting in the water had a splashing time at Monikie Park where we went Kayaking, not only did they do lots of fun activities in their Kayaks they also had time just paddling about in the water and jumping off the jetty. The others that don’t like that kind of thing enjoyed watching and chatting with nice hot drinks and taking photos. Overall everyone had a good day; the Picnic was fabulous as always THANKS to the chef who took care of all our dietary needs. The last day came around all too quick, we set off early to travel to Aberdeen and visit Cadonas for the day. Once all the checks were done and we were all well fed we let them loose. Someone was addicted to the water slides there was no stopping her, another had really progressed from last year and was going on all sorts of exciting rides, and some were climbing great heights, even I was persuaded to go on the big roller Coaster, it was great. Another successful day and Summer Programme Thank you TCA.

TCA logo

Befrienders Highland

Befrienders Highland are a well-established befriending charity providing 1-1 volunteer befriending to people with mental ill health across the Highlands and more recently, Argyll and Bute. For 20 years BHL has successfully offered a Face to Face befriending service in Inverness and Nairn. The Distance Befriending service, offered for 7 years is providing a highly successful befriending service by telephone, letter and email. This service combats the geographic and social isolation and resultant loneliness people experience and offers a highly effective means for 1-1 social contact across massive geographic and rural areas containing many rural, isolated and widespread communities.

The past year the distance befriending team have been piloting whether a 1-1 telephone volunteer befriending service would be effective for people in the early stages of dementia. We are pleased to say it has been hugely successful with tremendously positive outcomes and improvement in quality of life for those people befriended. The 20th September 2012 saw the first ever Scotland Dementia Awards at Hampden Park with Befrienders Highland being short listed in the top 3 for the Best Community Support Initiative for the Distance Befriending Dementia Pilot programme. BHL were runners up in their category but were delighted that Befriending and its successes were given national recognition.

Please contact Sally Mackintosh on:
01463 235675, sallymackintosh@befriendershighland.org.uk, www.befriendershighland.org.uk

Befrienders Highland logo
photo sent in by Befrienders Highland project

Staff, Volunteers and Friends at the Scotland Dementia Awards Hampden Park

David and Andrew
David and Andrew
David: “On 7th of December Andrew and I will have been befriending for 13 years. After a bad start with my first befriender, I wondered if it was me, but I was re-matched with Andrew and have reaped the rewards of being a friend over the last 10years. We do all sorts of things together, we go for long walks, cycle runs, car runs, swimming, support our local football team and the best thing so far is going to the Edinburgh Tattoo. My friend is now like part of my family and has also struck up a great friendship with my dog, Misty, whom he has known since a puppy, sometimes I wonder who is her master! Misty accompanies us on most outings and is not happy if we don't take her. As our friendship has grown we have built up a trust and we can share all things in our lives and have a great two way friendship. Thank you my friend, Andrew, for being there in good and rough times.”
Andrew: “David has been my best friend for the past 10 years, and I can’t forget his lovely dog Misty. We have travelled all over the place such as — Dingwall, Alness, Elgin, Forres, Invergordon, Cromarty, Buckie, Inverness, Wick and Edinburgh. Every year on the 1st of January we go to Jimmy Chungs in Elgin for our New Year Dinner. We have been to 6 Edinburgh Tattoo’s and we are planning our 7th one. David has given me the confidence to organise the Tattoo myself. I would like to thank him for being my Best Friend over the years, and long may it continue.”

Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland

Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland improves the quality of life for people in Scotland affected by chest, heart and stroke illness, through medical research, influencing public policy, advice and information and support in the community.

CHSS logo

No More Loneliness

When you are sitting lonely ‘cos you haven’t any choice
And all you want and long for is to hear a friendly voice
Well that is what you get and hearty thanks you render
When you are put in touch with a VOLUNTEER BEFRIENDER

What a joy it is to see her when she knocks upon your door
You know that for an hour or two you’ll have companionship galore
And you may even venture out on the arm of your defender
For you know you’ll never come to harm when you’re with your befriender

Gwen Silvers
CHSS heart failure befriending service in Glasgow

photo sent in by CHSS project image sent in by CHSS project photo sent in by CHSS project
“I used to have panic attacks every day, I had them when she was here and she was brilliant. She stayed very calm and helped me to get through it.” "I have to have a wheelchair and oxygen, I didn’t like going out because I felt weak. She built up my confidence to go out and reassured me when we went out. I feel safe with her.” “Just because I’m stuck at home on oxygen doesn’t mean I’m not me, having someone to talk to has meant I have realised my whole life is not about being ill – I still have a personality.”
“I can do this, I can live. That is how I feel now.” “I now have someone who cares about me and is not there just to do all the things I can’t do for myself now.” “Someone wants to spend time with me, even that is a boost.”
“Help to get out of the house has been great I really look forward to her visits its nice to be able to talk and have someone to listen.” "I feel that I’m no longer alone.” “I am so glad we found this service; it’s great for my husband to see another face. I can go out without worrying which is great for me too.”
“She reminds me of who I really am.” “I feel like I manage better now.” “We walked in my garden I have not done that for a long time.”
“We went out for a wee walk together; I haven’t seen my neighbourhood for ages.” "I want someone else to have a shot at having a volunteer because she’s made such a difference to me,” “She is so good at remembering the things I tell her it makes me feel like someone is really interested in me.”


LGBT Age offers support through 1:1 befriending, social events, plus an information and advocacy service to all lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender people who are over 50 years old. The aims of the project are to reduce social isolation and increase confidence and self-esteem in this marginalised population.

Contact Garry on 0131 523 1107 for more information.

LGBT Age logo

  photo sent in by LGBT Age project  
“Spending time with my volunteer is very different from spending time with other people who tend to call me names.” "My volunteer spoke openly about being gay in a café we were in – this gave me more confidence.” “The whole experience of being befriended has helped me to come to terms with the loss of my partner.”
“Thanks to spending time with my volunteer, I feel more confident about attending other LGBT events without him.” “Without a befriender my time was spent watching DVDs, playing computer games and sleeping.” “I have built up a relationship where I can talk about my sexuality for the first time.”

LGBT Age Case Study D


Benefits of Involvement:

LGBT Case Study L


Benefits of Involvement:

LGBT Age Case Study C


Benefits of Involvement:

LGBT Age Case Study J


Benefits of Involvement:

Case Study M


Benefits of Involvement:

Case Study C


Benefits of Involvement:

Volunteer Quotes

Photo of LGBT Age volunteers Simon and David with their Get Up & Go Award and Certificate
LGBT Age volunteers Simon and David
with their Get Up & Go Award and Certificate


COVEY (COmmunity Volunteers Enabling Youth) volunteers provide befriending outings on a regular basis to young people in South Lanarkshire.

COVEY logo

A befriender who is a teacher advised that since starting to befriend she has reflected on her work practice and has a different outlook when dealing with vulnerable children in her work setting. She questions what their background is and what is going on in their lives- rather than just looking at their behaviour in isolation.

photo sent in by COVEY photo sent in by COVEY photo sent in by COVEY
“I can quite honestly say COVEY had changed my life. If it hadn’t been for COVEY I would still be sitting about on my back side doing nothing.” "The young people love having their befriender- whenever I come in all they want to tell me is what they have done with their befrienders." "I like my befriender- with Social workers they expect you to talk about your feelings. With SJ I can just talk about stuff- I like that."
photo sent in by COVEY
photo sent in by COVEY
photo sent in by COVEY

Kincardine and Deeside Befriending

Kindardine and Deeside Befriending is a local registered charity which aims to reduce social isolation and loneliness in older people throughout the Kincardine and Deeside area by matching them on a one to one basis with a volunteer befriender.

Kincardine and Deeside logo

photo sent in by Kincardine and Deeside Befriending photo sent in by Kincardine and Deeside Befriending photo sent in by Kincardine and Deeside Befriending
“I am pleased that Pam suggested that we go to the tea dance. It brings back fond memories of when I used to go dancing with my wife. I enjoy dancing with Pam and try not to step on her feet too often.”
Victor (blind befriendee)
"Having a befriender has made a huge difference to both Mum and myself. I have no hesitation in leaving Mum for a couple of hours as her befriender has a calming, lovely nature and is very capable. Mum can be grumpy with me but when Emma arrives she is all smiles and happy again. I leave them together with an easy mind and enjoy my short break.” “Having a befriender encourages Betty to get out even if she lacks the motivation to do so on her own. The social contact and routine of a familiar and trusted befriender helps Betty to maintain her mood and when low provides her with valuable support. Befriending enables her to maintain independent living to the best of her ability.”
“I personally benefit from the weekly email updates from Louise on her visits as it gives me something specific to talk to Mum about that evening. Thank you for providing this very useful service to people like my Mum.”
(Carer of a befriendee with dementia)
"Jacky has dementia which brings its challenges but does not stop us from having a great (sometimes mischievous!) time together. She is full of fun with a wonderful sense of humour and an absolute pleasure to befriend. We have enjoyed a variety of activities including visits to the cinema, art gallery, restaurants, shopping trips, visiting Jacky’s sister and going for walks. Jacky, a former befriender, really looks forward to our time together and it is a great relief for her husband to know that there is someone with her to have fun with. The smile on her face and the hugs when I arrive is such a boost, knowing that your visit, in a small way makes a difference to her life and at the same time enriching mine!” “My befriender is wonderful, we get on extremely well together. She is more like another daughter to me now.”
£20,000 from the Scottish Government
We are pleased to announce that K&D Befriending have again been awarded money from the Scottish Government’s Short Breaks Fund. The money will enable us to match volunteers to more older people diagnosed with dementia. Our aim is to enable carers to take a short break and have some regular time for themselves while their loved-one is spending time with a befriender:
“What gave me a great deal of pleasure was knowing I was going to have a regular break every week for 2 hours. I spent a long time thinking about what I would like to do and planning my next short break. Knowing my mum was enjoying herself with her volunteer meant I could relax and feel free during the time I had”. “John (befriender) and I put the world to rights during his visits and sometimes we can have a very good debate on the government. This is uplifting and when my carer comes back I enjoy telling her what we have discussed and whether we agreed or disagreed!”
photo sent in by Kincardine and Deeside Befriending
Linda and Jean
“My befriender is like me, we have the same sense of humour. Even though I’m over 80 I love having fun and we go out and have lots of laughs.” photo sent in by Kincardine and Deeside Befriending
New befrienders are having a well earned coffee break at the introduction to befriending training and enjoying the sunshine in the beautiful gardens at Dalvenie Resource Centre in Banchory.
“I will continue my weekly visits to Paul (housebound) as long as he needs me.”
John, volunteer befriender since 2004.
photo sent in by Kincardine and Deeside Befriending

Link UP Mentoring / Befriending Service

The Link UP Service supports vulnerable children and young people across Tayside in relation to parental substance misuse, their own alcohol and / or other substances use and in terms of their own offending/ anti-social behaviour.

Link Up Mentoring / Befriending Service logo

photo sent in by Link Up Mentoring / Befriending Service photo sent in by Link Up Mentoring / Befriending Service photo sent in by Link Up Mentoring / Befriending Service
"Before I was involved in the Link Up service I was shy, was having a bit of bother at school, with family, friends and I was constantly getting grounded. I have stopped getting into trouble, I’m better behaved, become a bit more mature, responsible and more interested in the future. I have more trust from my parents so I am able to do more and socialise more and get to stay up later. I also realise now that not making changes in my life would have meant that I would have lost out on a lot." "It’s good fun and gives you the opportunity to get out the house and do new activities, make new friends and help you overcome any worries." "I wasn’t very well behaved and I was getting into trouble with the Police every week. Managing my behaviour better by thinking before reacting. I’m not getting into as much trouble at school or with the Police. I was managing to get out and do activities in the community and learn better social skills."
"I loved watching my young person's confidence grow - every time we met, he was more open and willing to talk about everything from the football we were watching to what was happening at home and in his life. His enthusiasm for our match was growing more evident with every meeting and it made me really happy to be part of it." "I was off the rails drinking too much and getting into bother. Basically I didn’t give a Crap. Getting on a lot better. Not drinking as much and able to control it. Before I didn’t think about the future but now I’m taking responsibility for myself and my attitude is more positive." "When we first began I found it hard to be myself, and it was difficult to relate to a young person, as I work generally with adults. Overtime I feel myself and T both came out our shells, to where we both felt relaxed with one another. Out of all the things we did together, it was swimming I feel we made a connection. Teaching T to swim, and seeing him progress was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had in my life. All the laughs we had, and time spent together, will forever stay with me and make me smile. Witnessing a spirit whose aim is to conquer everything he faces, gives an insight into the power of youth."

Good Companions Befriending Scheme

The Good Companions Befriending Scheme (run by Voluntary Action South Leicestershire) offers support on a 1:1 basis to people over 65 years who are isolated and lonely in their own home.

Voluntary Action South Leicestershire logo

"Looking back over the year, it has been wonderful. It is something to look forward to each week otherwise it could be weeks between seeing anyone. It has definitely made a big difference and lifts my spirits." "I love her she is a very pleasant person who will sit and listen to me and not many people do that. She just lets me talk and I feel so much better afterwards." "We have a lot in common to talk about and she has managed to get me back into reading again which I haven’t done for years. She brings me books to read and we can then talk about them. She is going to take me out to Dunelm Mill next week which is something I have been wanting to do for ages."
"We have built up a lovely friendship. Her visits are always welcome and break up the loneliness of the day. Her postcards from holiday are much appreciated too. Her conversation is a source of stimulus and interest; she is very kind to all the family. As I can’t get out she is a contact with the outside world." "I am very happy with her visits we talk non-stop and don’t have to think about what we are going to say, it just flows. It makes the dark evening much shorter and more bearable." "I have something to look forward to every week and it is giving me an incentive to tidy and clean my house now as I know I have a visitor each week. I was a bit apprehensive to begin with but I am so happy that I decided to join the scheme, thank you so much."

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Befriending Networks
scottish charity number: SC023610

page updated: October 2012