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What is Telephone Befriending?

When we’re going through a difficult time in our lives or a period of change, sometimes it can be helpful to talk to someone about how we feel.

A supportive, listening ear and reassurance can help us to recover our confidence, so we arrange for volunteers to provide Telephone Befriending support to older people.

How does Telephone Befriending work?

Our Service Coordinator will phone you to find out about your situation, your needs and whether a regular, weekly phone call from one of our volunteers could be useful. If possible and appropriate, we’ll put you in touch with one of our volunteers.

They’ll phone you for a 20-minute chat at the same time each week. It’s really up to you what you talk about, but the volunteer will provide you with companionship and can offer lots of information about services and activities that could benefit you.

Who can apply?

Anyone who:

  • is over 60
  • is housebound
  • lives in Bristol
  • doesn’t live in a care home or a very sheltered housing scheme
  • is able to communicate easily over the phone
  • hasn’t been diagnosed with dementia or a long-term, pre-existing mental health condition

Priority is given to those in greatest need, particularly those who:

  • live alone or as an isolated carer
  • have little or no social contact


You may refer yourself to the service or you may be referred to us by a friend, relative or carer, a health or social care professional, or a member of staff from a voluntary agency who knows you.

When you are referred to us by someone else, we will contact you directly to have a chat about how the service could help you.

How much is Telephone Befriending?

Telephone Befriending is free of charge, although you can make a donation to support our work.

Your involvement

There are just two things that we’d like you to do.

Please let us know in advance if you’re going to be out or away, because we don’t want our volunteers to have a wasted journey into the office.
Let us know what you think about our Telephone Befriending service. We welcome your views anytime.
Contact Toni Wood on 0117 987 8428 or