We provide a free befriending service in Reading and West Berkshire. Our team of dedicated and caring volunteers visit clients in their own homes or speak to them on the phone to provide companionship and engage in friendly conversation to help break the cycle of loneliness.
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 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 Coordinatorknow 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 overand 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 serviceif 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 contact
▪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.