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Our team of dedicated and caring volunteers provide a free befriending service in Reading, Bracknell and West Berkshire. This service can be provided face-to-face or via the telephone, depending on your preference.

Face-to-face: Our volunteers visit clients in their own homes to provide companionship and engage in friendly conversation. 

Telephone: Our volunteers offer telephone befriending for anyone in the Berkshire area, including Slough. Telephone befriending is useful for those who would like to talk to someone on a regular basis, without having someone visit them at home.

How we can help

▪ We recruit volunteers from all walks of life, with a range of ages and interests
▪ We check all potential volunteers with the Disclosure and Barring Service so that we and you are assured about their suitability as a Befriending volunteer
▪ Our Befriending Coordinator visits you, or the person being befriended, to find out more about interests, needs, and your expectations of our service
▪ We match carefully selected volunteers to those needs and interests as much as possible
▪ Our Coordinator visits you again to introduce the carefully matched volunteer
▪ We help you and the potential visiting volunteer determine the frequency of regular visits, which can be weekly, fortnightly, or monthly
▪ We hope it will be a medium to a long-term relationship that may last for many months or years and because it's long-term, it may take at least a month to match the right volunteer with you, or the person being visited: we want to get it right!
▪ We ask the volunteer to regularly let the Coordinator know how you are; we keep that information very secure and do not share it outside of Age UK Berkshire
▪ Your regular volunteer will be able to keep you informed about any other of our services and products if you wish

Who is suitable for the service?

▪ If you are aged 60 or over and living alone in Reading or West Berkshire
▪ We will also consider requests to support people between 50 and 60 if your circumstances could make you socially isolated, or we could refer you to our Getting Out & About service, if you wanted
▪ You may have family members but they're living distantly from you
▪ You may have friends but you don't see them very often
▪ You may have little other social contacts
▪ You may also find it more difficult to get out of your home on a regular basis

Currently we don’t provide home visiting befriending in other parts of Berkshire but if you need this or similar support in one of these areas, we may know of another local group or charity who does.  Please enquire to our Information and Advice Service.

We can also provide a free telephone befriending service which covers all of Berkshire which you may prefer.

Can I become a volunteer Befriender?

▪If you feel you are a caring person, have some free time and would like to make a difference to an older person's life, please consider becoming a Befriending volunteer.

Find out more about volunteering

How do I sign up?

We would love for you to sign up! It is a rewarding experience and we are always looking for more volunteers. For more information about home visiting befriending or telephone befriending, or if you'd like to sign up or refer someone, please contact Age UK Berkshire on:

0118 959 4242 or