Volunteer Befriender

What You'll Do: 

Demand for our befriending service is growing, as we receive more and more referrals from social services, GPs and concerned family and friends.  The people who are referred to us are lonely and often isolated.  They need company and conversation to make them feel socially connected and part of their local community.  We are keen to recruit enthusiastic and friendly volunteers to join our existing team of volunteers so that we can support as many people as possible.  The role involves: 

  • regular home visits on your own to an older person. This will be at a time and day arranged with the older person or their carer 
  • The most important thing about being a befriender is to simply provide regular company with the main aim of reducing social isolation. Activities could include a chat and a cup of tea, going out for a short walk or a local shopping trip, playing games or watching TV/a film together. This will depend on the individual and what they are comfortable with doing 
  • encouraging an older person to join Link Age Southwark’s activity groups 
  • keeping in touch with the team at Link Age Southwark regarding your visits and the wellbeing of the person you are visiting 
Why You'll Love It: 

This is a rewarding role on a number of levels: 

  • you will be gaining a new experience in your local community, getting to know an older person and hopefully gain a new friendship  
  • being part of a great team of Link Age Southwark volunteers and staff 
  • you will be playing a vital part in easing loneliness and isolation of an older person and help them get the best from life  
  • as well as attending our induction you will have opportunities to attend other training including Emergency First Aid,  Mental Health Awareness and Assisting People with Mobility Needs 
  • you will be entitled to claim reasonable expenses 
  • we can provide references after you have completed 6 months in a volunteering role with Link Age Southwark 
  • you will have an enriching and fulfilling experience! 
What You'll Learn: 

Volunteering in any role is an opportunity to develop your skills and life experience.  As a befriender you will acquire skills including: 


  • improved communication and listening skills 
  • empathy and understanding of the issues facing older people 
  • (a greater understanding of dementia) 
  • increased self confidence 
  • boundary management in relationships 
  • time management 
What We're Looking For: 

What you need to be a successful befriender 

  • a cheerful and friendly personality 
  • good spoken English and communication/listening skills 
  • commitment to visiting an older person for approximately one hour on a weekly basis for a minimum of 6 months 
  • good timekeeping and reliability 
  • be empathetic towards the needs of older people 
  • patient, understanding and non-judgemental attitude 
  • to attend an induction so that you are ready and confident about starting a befriending relationship 
  • to attend our extended induction with specific training on being a dementia befriender if you chose this option 
  • complete a fully enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service application (we will pay for this)  
  • provide two referees whom you have known for at least 2 years for a character reference, ideally one of which should be from a previous employer, education or volunteer organisation 
  • understanding and commitment to working within the policies of Link Age Southwark, in particular health and safety, confidentiality, safeguarding and equality and diversity. 
Older People
26 Weeks Minimum
1 Hours / Week
Skills you will develop: 
Active listening
Intercultural awareness
Interpersonal / Confidence
Relevant interests: 
Charity / Nonprofit

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