This Charity Pairs Seniors Up With Volunteer “Befrienders” To Increase Social Connection And Prevent Loneliness

Konstantin Yuganov - - illustrative purposes only, not the actual people

Do you have an older relative who lives alone, and you tend to worry about them getting bored or lonely?

They could use a service like b:friend, an amazing charity in the UK that has paired thousands of older people with friends to spend time with and gotten them involved in fun social clubs.

B:friend was founded by Mike Niles, an Englishman who learned to understand how lonely the world can be while living in London. In 2017, he had the brilliant idea to become a ‘befriender’ and meet people in isolated communities, giving them someone to chat with whenever they feel alone and vice versa.

Throughout his experience, he discovered seniors had an especially difficult time dealing with loneliness, so he wanted to provide them a way to connect with others.

Thus, b:friend was born.

The charity involves people who volunteer to be befrienders and make themselves available to those who could use a bit more friendly company during the day.

“Volunteer befrienders pledge to visit a socially isolated older neighbor near them for one hour per week for a ‘cuppa’ and a chat,” is written on the b:friend website.

“On the way back from work, the shops, dropping the kids at school – whenever is convenient for both people, a befriender will spend an hour just chatting, listening, and supporting someone that otherwise may have no one.”

The organization cleverly pairs befrienders and their company-seeking friends based on their location and other factors. Additionally, someone from the organization remains in contact with the befriender and their ‘neighbor’ to ensure everyone is satisfied with their experience in the program.

Konstantin Yuganov – – illustrative purposes only, not the actual people

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