Dealing with a life-limiting illness and supporting a loved one who is very ill can be among the greatest challenges we face. OxBEL Befrienders offer friendship without fear and with openness and honesty.Oxbel

Our Oxfordshire Befriending for Life service (OxBEL) offers friendship to people aged 18 and over who are living with a life-limiting illness. We also provide support for carers and loved ones.

Volunteer Befrienders build a friendly, supportive relationship with you and those who care for you. A Befriender spends up to three hours a week talking, listening to or being with you, depending on your needs and wishes. Each volunteer offers:

  • Friendship
  • Companionship
  • Someone who is keen to celebrate the joys of living
  • Someone who is not afraid to talk about difficult issues if needed
  • Befriending also aims to reduce any sense of isolation and to help people feel less alone in a time of need.

Each volunteer is fully trained and supported by a skilled, experienced, and professional team of coordinators.

How we can support youTwo men talking

OxBEL offers the following support services:

  • Face to face and telephone befriending.
  • Help to plan and go on outings or continue favourite activities.
  • Minor practical support: e.g. escort to medical appointments, light shopping, collecting prescriptions.
  • A break for carers from time to time.
  • Information about local services and additional sources of help, support and advice.
  • We also set up and facilitate support groups through our collaborative work with Carers Oxfordshire post bereavement friendship and support.

Do you know someone who could benefit?

If you think you, or someone you know, could benefit from the OxBEL service, or if you wish to know more about how the service works, please call us on 01235 849427, email or write to:

Oxfordshire Befriending for Life
Level 2
The Charter
OX14 3LZ

If you are requesting a Befriender, please see our referral criteria to find out if you are eligible. One of our Coordinators will respond to your request within five working days to take full details of your referral, discuss your needs and circumstances, and to understand what you would like to achieve from the service. A Befriender will usually be allocated within 3 to 4 weeks.

Alternatively, you can download our referral form and send it to us by post or email.


OxBEL Volunteers offer caring friendship and companionship in a non-judgmental and supportive way. They visit the person they befriend at mutually convenient times and do not have to be available at the same time on the same day every week.

  • Visits can happen in the service user's home, care home, hospital, hospice, or out and about depending on what is appropriate at the time.
  • Some volunteers also give practical help to those they are befriending, such as taking them to hospital, out to the shops or helping them to access local health and social services. This is not an essential part of the service, but may sometimes be appropriate.
  • The volunteer's visit may also give a few hours' break to carers.

Volunteers provide a safe space for the person living with a life limiting illness and the people who care for and about them to explore their feelings. Most importantly we do everything possible to support living life to the full.

As a volunteer, you will be trained before you start befriending and you will receive ongoing support and supervision from OxBEL staff. Regular support groups also give you the chance to socialise with fellow befrienders and to offer support and encouragement to each other.

While volunteers can have a wide range of personal/spiritual beliefs, they do not impose their views on others. We respect and value all diverse identities in society.

For more information or to express and interest in volunteering with OxBEL, please fill out our volunteering contact form or call us on 01235 849427. We look forward to working with you!

Further information