- Location: Age UK Merton
- Price: Free
Please note, this service is not available outside Age UK Merton - Head Office's catchment area.
Age UK Merton
277 London Road
Merton Befriending Service is a high quality service dedicated to tackling loneliness and isolation for older people in Merton by assigning friendly volunteers to visit older people in their homes
Tell me more
Loneliness can have a significant impact on older people’s health and wellbeing, therefore, Age UK Merton and The Wimbledon Guild have joined forces to recruit volunteers to dedicate their free time to visiting older, more vulnerable people in their homes.
We offer a free face to face and a telephone befriending service with the emphasis on reducing social isolation, empowerment and promoting independence. This is done by providing emotional support and/or enabling people to be re-integrated back into their local community. The befriending service is completely free to join as either a volunteer or a client.
Our volunteers are interviewed and fully inducted into the role. Two references are taken up. A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check is also carried out. Volunteers are regularly supervised and monitored.
What is the criteria?
We welcome referrals from anyone for
• Merton residents
• Age 65 years and over
• Who are housebound
• And/or living alone
• And/or recently bereaved (within the last year)
• And/or with a recent diagnosis of a long term condition (in the last year)
• Who want to be befriended through once weekly visits and/or telephone calls.
• Who are socially isolated and not engaged with activities in the community.
Socially isolated people are those not in regular personal contact with family, friends, community organisations and activities.
Regular personal contact is anything greater than 3 days a week and not in a caring capacity. Carers may be in regular contact with family but this is not regarded as “regular personal contact”.
Priority will be given to those who are BOTH housebound and living alone.
Important information to note
Service users must be able to meaningfully engage with and remember the befriender in order to benefit from the service. They must be able to understand what the service offers and give informed consent to the request for a befriender. They must be able to complete the short wellbeing scale at the begining and at regular reviews.
The service is not suitable for anyone:
• With high support needs e.g. severe mental health or memory problems
• Who wants help with household chores, physical care, care after being discharged from hospital, respite care or a sitting service, shopping, banking and DIY
• The service is not an emergency intervention service.
What is the referral process?
When a referral is received, the Service Coordinator will contact the client to introduce the service and make arrangements for a home visit. At this visit the client will be assessed to gauge their suitability for the service. All information shared is confidential. Following this assessment, if the client is suitable for the service, we try and find a suitable volunteer match. There will be a wait involved at this stage.