One-To-One Befriending Links
We are now accepting new referrals in all areas apart from Ipswich, which remains closed until further notice.
We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
Please be assured that our waiting list is under constant review and we endeavour to re-open the waiting list in Ipswich as soon as possible. Those already on the list will remain on it although we cannot guarantee timescales for matching with a link.
This does not affect volunteers who would like to become a Befriender as Volunteer applications are still active in all areas. You can find more information on how to become a Befriender through our ‘Volunteering Opportunities’ page.
We Asked Our Members “What Is a Friend?” They Said…
“A friend is someone to talk to over a cup of tea or coffee”
“Someone to spend time with doing things you both enjoy”
“Someone to listen to and share your thoughts with”
“Someone who helps you to do things you might find hard to do alone”
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is a One-To-One Befriender?
A Befriender is a volunteer who would like to spend some time with a member on a regular basis and provide them with friendship, company and support. Volunteers and members may meet once a week, once a fortnight or once a month for a couple of hours. Meetings will be arranged with the support of your Link Co-ordinator.
Befrienders are there to listen and to talk with. If able to, members can get out and about with their befriender to carry out social activities including meeting for a coffee, going to the cinema amongst other things. Befrienders may also be able to visit the member at home in circumstances where the member is unable to leave their home. Members and volunteer befrienders are matched on location, hobbies and interests and personality.
All volunteers will have completed a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and will have completed an induction to the service.
How Much Does This Service Cost?
This is a free service for those who are eligible under the below criteria.
Who Is Eligible For This Service?
To be eligible for this service, individuals must meet at least one of the following criteria:
Have a learning disability
Have a mild mental health issue *
Be an older person (65+)
Individuals being referred to the service MUST also:
Live in Suffolk
Be over 16 years old
Not be accessing another befriending service
Have limited social contact or regularly experience feelings of loneliness and/or isolation
* Please note that The Befriending Scheme will consider applications where the individual has a long-term mental health issue that is well managed. Eligibility is considered on a case-by-case basis. The Befriending Scheme have the right to review the eligibility of individuals at any time where it is felt necessary to do so.
What About Care and Support Needs?
The purpose of the one-to-one service is for volunteer Befrienders to provide individuals with company and companionship. Volunteers are not trained in personal care and are not responsible for addressing any personal care and support needs.
Does This Service Apply To Individuals With Dementia?
The Befriending Scheme will consider applications where the individual has Dementia, providing the individual meets the criteria outlined above. For safety reasons, The Befriending Scheme cannot accept referrals where the individual has surpassed a stage that we feel they would no longer benefit from the service.
How Can I Apply For This Service?
Please note that The Befriending Scheme are only currently accepting referral applications in the Sudbury and Bury St Edmunds areas.
If you would like to apply to have a befriender, or would like to refer an individual to the service, you will need to complete a referral application form.
Please click on the link below to download the application form. Alternatively, you may call the office on 01787 371 333 to request an application form be sent to you.
You will need to return a hard copy of the application form by post to:
The Befriending Scheme
1 The Croft
Once the application form has been received, the relevant Link Co-ordinator will be in touch to discuss eligibility. Individuals who are eligible will then go on to our waiting list for a Befriender. For individuals who are not eligible, we will do our best to signpost them to other organisations or support groups that may be better suited to their needs.
Who Can I Contact About This Service?
If you would like to know more about this service, please give us a call at the office on 01787 371 333 or email us at [email protected]
If you are unsure whether this service is suitable for your needs, please feel free to call our office for an informal chat on 01787 371333.