Thousands of older people in Sutton are chronically lonely, going for weeks - even months - without speaking to another person.

age uk sutton

Befrienders play a vital role in breaking older people out of the fog of isolation, and helping them to reconnect to their communities and gain confidence. 

What does Befriending involve?

  • When you become a befriender, you will be matched to a lonely older person to help them build their confidence and motivation to connect to their local community. This could be through telephone contact, visiting them at home or meeting them at a neutral venue. 
  • You'll provide older people with company, conversation and encouragement via your befriending relationship with the aim of enabling them to become socially independent. 
  • As your befriending relationship progresses, you will support older people to maintain the interests and hobbies that are important to them, and help them to overcome any challenges they might face in mixing with others in their community. 

How long does a Befriending relationship last?  

Befrienders work to build isolated older people's confidence and emotional wellbeing. Some of the greatest successes we've seen is when former 'befriendees' gain enough confidence and inspiration to become a befriender themselves. 

Each befriending relationship is different, so it's difficult to set time scales - sometimes it can be a few months, other times it can be longer. What doesn't change, however, is the fulfilment and immeasurable rewards that come with being a befriender. 


Read how Anita's life was changed by meeting her befriender Melanie


Is it for me? 

The ideal Community Helper is passionate about fighting loneliness, and empowering older people to improve their wellbeing through social interaction. He/she would be a good listener, with a friendly, open manner and the ability to put people at ease. Patience and an understanding towards the challenges faced by older people are also important. 

Befriending is an ideal role for people in full or part-time work who still want to volunteer. The flexible nature of the role means you can meet with the person you are matched with at the weekend or evenings. 

Peer Befriending 

Peer matches have proved especially valuable and successful. We encourage recent retirees and anyone with some time to spare who would like to give back, to consider becoming a Befriender.

A peer match is also an excellent choice for individuals who would like to become more involved and active themselves. After all, it's easier to try new activities and groups when you've got company, and you'll find yourselves supporting each other. 

Apply online


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