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Age UK Medway’s Befriending Service provides companionship to older people living in Medway who are experiencing loneliness.

Our Befrienders will spend quality time with the person, creating a long-lasting friendship.

What is Befriending?

The Befriending service is a free service that is provided by fully trained and vetted volunteers, who are carefully matched to ensure that we connect people with similar interests, providing older people with a long-term companion to spend quality time with, chatting about life and becoming not just a familiar face, but a friend.

Our volunteer Befrienders will spend 1-3 hours a week together with an older person in their home, perhaps for a cup of tea and a chat, or accompanying them to an activity (such as a trip to a cafe or the theatre). 

The main aims of the service are to:

  • Reduce social isolation
  • Build confidence
  • Maintain independence
  • Enhance wellbeing
  • Assist with engaging with the community.

There are some things that a befriending volunteer is not able to do, for instance they will not be able to help with personal care, go shopping on your behalf, do housework, gardening or maintenance, give counselling or guidance.

Why is Befriending so important?

People aged 50 and over are more likely to be lonely if they do not have someone to open up to, are
widowed, are in poor health, are unable to do the things they want, feel that they do not belong in
their neighbourhood, or live alone.

  • 3.6 million older people in the UK live alone, of whom 2 million are aged 75+.
  • 1.9 million older people often feel ignored or invisible.
  • Loneliness can be as harmful for our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Who is elibible?

To qualify for our Befriending service, the person being referred must be aged 50 and over, living in the Medway towns and experiencing loneliness (does not recieve regular visits from family or friends). 

Anyone can make a referral, however we will need to make sure that we have the older person's consent to continue with the application.

What is the cost?

Our Befriending service is free of charge and is run by our fantastic volunteering community. We always appreciate a donation, however big or small, and you can donate here.

How quickly can I get a Befriender?

As the service is free of charge and is run by our volunteer team, this means that there is sometimes a little bit of a wait. This is for a few reasons:

  • Your application will need to be reviewed and assessed by our administrative team.
  • We take our time to match our volunteers carefully to the older person to ensure that they will have lots to talk about.
  • We may have a higher request for the service than we do available Befrienders.

We appreciate your patience as we process your application and match you to a local volunteer.

How do I become a Befriender?

We are always in need of more volunteers, and Befriending is one of the most rewarding roles you can do. To be a Befriender, you must be aged 18 and over and be living in the Medway towns. You must also be willing to undertake a DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service) check. Becoming a Befriender is so rewarding, as you will:

  • Make a real difference to someone's life
  • Give something back to the community
  • Be a part of our volunteer community
  • Gain a new friend and network

To find out more, visit our Volunteering page or use the contact details below.

Contact us

01634 790140

Combating isolation

At Age UK Medway, we are doing all we can to combat loneliness in older people, and to prevent them feeling left behind by society. That's why we always Ask About Alf.

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Call Age UK Medway

01634 572616 01634 572616

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