Volunteer as a telephone friend
We've had a tremendous response to our call for volunteers to be telephone friends
We are working hard to match volunteers with older people, but due to the incredible interest in this service, it will take some time for us to process applications. That means we can't take on more new volunteers at present – but please keep checking our website for when we re-open applications. In the meantime, we have lots of other ways you can volunteer to help older people.
What is telephone friendship?
As people get older, some may find they spend more time on their own. This can sometimes feel lonely, boring or make people miss friends or family.
We offer free telephone friendship services for older people so they can enjoy chatting with someone over the phone, all from the comfort of your their home.
One of our services matches volunteers with older members of the public to have a weekly 30-minute chat together.
As a volunteer, you'd befriend someone who's 60 or over. It's a fun, safe, easy way to get to know someone new from the comfort of your own home. Lots of people tell us the chats are the highlight of their week.
If you'd like to make a difference to an older person's life, read through the rest of this page and see if it's the right opportunity for you.
What's great about becoming a telephone friend?
- It's a free, simple way to give something back through a weekly call to an older person.
- Our dedicated team will match you with someone who has shared interests.
- Your calls can make a huge difference to the happiness and wellbeing of an older person.
- We protect the safety of all volunteers and members by automatically connecting them with their telephone friend, which means no personal telephone numbers need to be exchanged.
How does it work?
- You sign up and start your volunteer application online. This involves completing references, online training, passing an ID check and having an interview with our team.
- We match you with a suitable older person based on your interests.
- Age UK will then connect you with your telephone friend to begin your weekly calls.
What's expected of me?
We're looking for people who have excellent listening skills and enjoy a good phone call. You'll need to be able to show your telephone friend respect, patience, empathy and understanding. This is what we'd also expect from you:
- Making time for a 30-minute call on the same day and time each week.
- A commitment to volunteering with us for a minimum of one year.
- Agreeing to our volunteer terms and conditions.
- Being kind and respectful to your telephone friend.
- Letting us know if you or your telephone friend need any support.
Frequently asked questions
What training do I need?
Who will I be matched with?
What if my telephone friend needs some assistance?
What if I'm unable to make my call because I'm ill?
What if my friend doesn't answer when I call?
What if I don't get on with my friend or we have nothing in common?
How is my telephone number kept anonymous?
How long will it be before I am calling my telephone friend?
This telephone friendship service is winner of
- British Interactive Media Awards (BIMA) for ‘Product & Service Design: Conscience’ and the best in category award for ‘Advance Award for Conscience’
- Third Sector Award for 'Breakthrough of the Year'
- UXUK Awards for Best Innovation
Would you like to receive a friendly, weekly call?
If you're over 60 and interested in telephone friendship, you can sign up on our website.