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Loneliness and social isolation are more common than you think and for many are closely linked to remaining independent and enjoying good physical and mental health.

Older lady enjoying company

“Currently, a million people over 65 feel lonely ‘often’ or ‘always’and 3.7 million people live alone, many with no means of getting out and about.” (English Longitudinal Study on Ageing)

Our befriending services offer companionship and support to older people who are lonely or isolated, provide a link to the outside world and can act as a gateway to other services and support.


Befriending involves matching an older person with a volunteer befriender who can visit for a cuppa, friendly conversation and a listening ear on a regular basis. All of our volunteer befrienders undergo an enhanced DBS check and are required to provide satisfactory references as part of our recruitment process.

Mentoring (Leicester only)

A volunteer can visit you regularly for a period of time to help you to access your local community. You may, for example, wish to join a local activity group but do not feel confident enough to get there and back on your own; a volunteer mentor would be able to help you by taking you to the activity and attending it with you until you feel confident enough to attend on your own.

Telephone Befriending

A telephone befriender can call you regularly for a chat and a catch up. For more information or to arrange this, please contact one of our befriending co-ordinators (see section "How can I access this service"). 

Where is befriending and mentoring available?

Our home visit befriending services are available to residents of Charnwood, Rutland, North West Leicestershire and the following Leicester wards: Thurncourt, Spinney Hills, Belgrave, Wycliffe and Evington.

Telephone befriending is available to residents of Leicester City.

Additionally, in Rutland we have a specialist befriending service supporting those affected by cancer. This service is available to anyone aged 18 and over.

Is Befriending and Mentoring free of charge?

Yes. We are kindly supported by funders, including the Big Lottery and Macmillan, which means we can offer you the service at no cost.

How can I access this service?

You will simply need to make contact with our staff member who coordinates befriending or mentoring in your area. Their details are below:

For befriending and mentoring in Leicester (including telephone befriending)

Please contact Julia Day on 0116 223 7364 or Susan Emmerson on 0116 223 7363 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Thursday.

You can also email or

For befriending in Charnwood

Please contact Susan Tagg on 01509 260 327 or 07715 960 171 between 9.30am and 2.30pm on Monday, Wednesday or Thursday.

You can also email

For befriending in North West Leicestershire

Please contact Donna Watson on 01530 833 000 between 9am and 2:30pm, Monday to Thursday .

You can also email

For cancer specific befriending in Rutland

Please contact Elaine Rootham on

01572 823 942 or 07711 325 517 between 08:30am and 4:30pm, Monday to Friday.

You can also email

Further Information

Our Befriending and Mentoring Leaflet provides more information on this service.