Befriending services

Everyone can feel lonely now and again.

But as we get older and friends and relatives move away, or we suffer a bereavement of a loved one, being at home on our own can be especially difficult.

Health problems or other circumstances can make it hard to get out and about, stay in touch with people, or form new friendships. If this happens it can then be difficult to tell others that you are feeling lonely.

Various organisations offer 'befriending' services where a volunteer will regularly visit an older person, or someone with a health problem, in their own home, or will phone them for a chat. The arrangement is based on friendship and there is no payment involved.

The idea is that the volunteer befriender will get as much out of meeting the person in their home as the person does out of meeting the befriender.

Getting to know a new person who takes an interest in you and your life can improve your mood and confidence greatly, and make you feel listened to and part of the community again.

Finding a befriending scheme to suit you

Different organisations offer befriending support for people in different circumstances, have a look at the organisations below and see if there is someone out there who could offer support to you.

Age UK

Age UK offers telephone or face-to-face friendship services.

The service helps them to lead fulfilling lives, and reduces loneliness and isolation.

DeafBlind UK

DeafBlind UK offer a befriending service for people with combined sight ad hearing loss.

Fulham Good Neighbours

Fulham Good Neighbours run a befriending scheme for isolated local elderly, disabled and adults at risk.

Henna Befriending Service

Henna Asian Women's Group runs a befriending service which is open to all individuals who are in need of extra help to improve their social circle.

They will reach out to people most at risk that live anywhere in London.

Homeline in Hammersmith & Fulham

Homeline at Bishop Creighton House is a free service for older, isolated people aged 60 and older.

The service provides 3 befriending services (telephone, home visits and outdooor walks) as well as regular classes, social events and lunches.

They are always looking for new volunteers - have a look at their website to find out more.

Independent Age

Independent Age offer advice around staying connected.


Scotscare provides all sorts of support, including a befriending service for older people, for Scottish people living in London.

The Irish Chaplaincy in Britain

The Irish Chaplaincy in Britain provides befriending and other support for older Irish people living in London.

The Masbro Centre Befriending Scheme for Older People

The Masbro Centre offers befriending service for older people living in Hammersmith & Fulham.

All the befrienders are volunteers and give up some of their time on a weekly or monthly basis to help others.

The Octavia Foundation

The Octavia Foundation provide a volunteer befriending service which offers vital support to adults at risk or lonely adults in central and west London.

The Passage

The Passage match former rough sleepers who may be socially isolated with volunteers from all over London. Partnerships can last up to a year and support tenancy sustainment by linking people into local services and setting goals.

The Royal Voluntary Service

The Royal Voluntary Service organise befrienders for older people across the United Kingdom. 

The St Vincent de Paul Society

The St Vincent de Paul Society arranges volunteers who can visit elderly and other people at home or in hospitals and hospices, in residential homes, and in offender institutes.

The volunteers offer company and contact for people, and can assist with practical tasks such as shopping, decorating, gardening, filling in official forms and ensuring people receive the benefits to which they are entitled.

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