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Befriending services

At Age UK one of the ways we try to beat loneliness in later life is through our befriending, or ‘visiting’ services, where a volunteer visits or talks to an older person once a week in their own home.

Find out what befriending services your local Age UK offers

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Get a free weekly friendship call

Call in Time is a free telephone befriending service for matching volunteers with older people.


What is befriending?

Age UK offers two different types of befriending services:

  • Face-to-face befriending: where a volunteer befriender visits an older person in their home, perhaps for a cup of tea and a chat, or accompanies them to an activity (such as a trip to a café or the theatre). In some cases, a volunteer may accompany the older person to occasional hospital or doctor’s appointments.
  • Telephone befriending: where a volunteer befriender will phone an older person at an agreed time for a chat

With both types of befriending each older person is matched with a befriender who has similar interests. They will provide friendly conversation and companionship on a regular basis over a long period of time.

Befriending provides an older person with a link to the outside world and often acts as a gateway for other services and valuable support. These services are usually free of charge.

Len and Ivor's friendship

Age UK Essex volunteer befriender Ivor visits 92-year-old widower Len.


Why is befriending so important?

Loneliness is a massive issue for people in later life in the UK:

  • 200,000 older people say they haven't had a conversation with friends or family for a month.
  • 3.9 million older people agree the television is their main form of company.
  • Loneliness can be as harmful for our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Find out more about loneliness


What do I do next?

Find out what befriending services your local Age UK offers

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For more information call Age UK on 0800 055 6112

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