Befriending Schemes

Co-ordinated by Beds Rural Communities Charity, the Network are groups of residents who have got together as volunteers to assist fellow residents with the occasional things one neighbour might do for another. Help might include giving lifts; collecting shopping or prescriptions; minor household repairs such as changing a light-bulb; or personal help such as letter-writing or looking after pets. Volunteers are fully insured and are checked under the requirements of the Disclosure and Barring Service, previously known as the Criminal Records Bureau.  Help is free unless actual costs are incurred, such as for petrol or parking where lifts are being given, but donations can be made.

Address:       Beds Rural Communities Charity, The Old School, Cardington, Bedford  MK44 3SX
Tel:                 01234 832648

Northamptonshire: Good Neighbours – ACRE

This project, and the role of a Good Neighbour, will help to ensure that older people in rural areas have the relevant information, advice and support they need to help with their well-being and are given opportunities within the communities that they live to in be involved in social activities as well as interaction to reduce the feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Visit and talk to older people in the community

  • be responsible for a cluster of three to four villages
  • carry out surveys to establish people’s views on available and future services and the quality of life in their communities
  • help to set up new activities ,events and services within the community
  • organise and participate in regular surgeries where local residents can go to talk about any of their well-being or financial concerns.


Royal Voluntary Service

Through more than 40,000 volunteers, the Royal Voluntary Service helps support older people all over the country to stay independent at home and active in their community. When friends and family live too far away to make regular contact, the Royal Voluntary Service can provide a little bit of company and friendly social contact at home through befriending services.

Often available as part of Good Neighbours services or on their own as befriending either face-to-face or on the telephone, it helps to reduce feelings of loneliness and increases motivation and confidence. This regular chat provides a vital link into the community to those who can be socially isolated because of restricted mobility or because they can’t access public transport.

Tel:     0845 608 0122


Age UK Befriending Services

Many local Age UKs provide befriending services, some by telephone and some where a volunteer visits the older person at their home. This vital service provides a link to the outside world and often acts as a gateway for other services and valuable support.

Age UK also provides a telephone befriending service called ‘Call in Time’, which consists of a regular daily or weekly phone call. The relationship is structured so that each befriender makes the call at a regular pre-agreed time. All befrienders are volunteers, who freely give up their time to help lonely older people.

Age UK Advice: 0800 169 65 65


Age UK Call in Time: 0844 225 0320