What is befriending?

To try to tackle the problem of loneliness and isolation, The No.1 Befriending Agency has created a befriending service, where trained volunteers would visit isolated older people and spend some time with them to have a wee chatter, a cup of tea, and to hear their stories. Befriending visits are tremendously helpful in battling the problem of loneliness and isolation, because they make people feel like somebody cares about them and that they have somebody that they can talk to. Befrienders also serve as a link to a wider network of help available for vulnerable people and can ring the bells of alarm if, for example, a person experiences any undue harm. For people without family members close by, this support can be invaluable.

Our group befriending takes place on our monthly Cup of Friendship events and are geared towards people who could not otherwise experience going out of the house.

Who do we support?

We support older adults (over 60 years old) in Greater Glasgow, who live alone and are lonely and/or isolated and are looking for companionship. After every referral, our well-trained Volunteer Coordinators visit each potential client to assess whether they would really benefit from befriending. We never let anybody “hanging”: if somebody is deemed not suitable, we try to find another, more suitable options for them in discussion with the referring agency.

“The visits really cheer my mom up, she has something to look forward to during the week and they keep her from getting depressed. I think they have a lot of fun together, and she taught her befriender how to make pancakes.”

Refer somebody

If you would like to refer somebody for our services, please consult our Referral Guidelines . You can request a referral form at info@befriend.org.uk.

Volunteer now!



At  The No.1 Befriending Agency we recognise that when you volunteer one hour of your time, you positively tranform two lives, both yours and your befriendee's!


Volunteer Befriender role


This role provides the opportunity to become part of the dynamic team at the No.1 Be-friending Agency and make a significant contribution to reducing loneliness and isolation. The Volunteer Befriender will work with the people we support, their families and partner agencies to deliver a caring service that meets individual needs and aspirations in a person-centred way.



As a Volunteer Befriender, you will visit an older person, typically over the age of 65, who requires social support at home. During these weekly visits, lasting between one and two hours, you will engage, stimulate and support your befriendee, encouraging him or her to be as independent as possible. You will offer warm companionship and, at a minimum, active listening and conversation. You may also provide a measure of practical support by, for example, helping arrange appointments, activities and outings; assisting with walking (lending an arm); organising mail and writing letters; accompanying to social events and appointments.


Befriending is unique and distinct from other services. Research points to a number of key benefits for older people, including: they feel life is worth living; they feel they are not forgotten and they belong; they know they have a friend who cares, who is not family; they feel less lonely and less anxious; they no longer feel a burden to society; their emotional and physical health is improved.


However, as a Volunteer Befriender, you will not only transform the life of the person you will assist. Research indicates that volunteering in general, and befriending in particular, transforms the lives of those who assist as well. Volunteers live longer, happier lives, as a number of physical and psychological health indicators are significantly better in volunteers than non-volunteers. Furthermore, volunteering provides experience and builds skills which are valuable to employers: a recent survey shows that volunteers are on average 27% more likely to find employment than non-volunteers.


With the No.1 Be-friending Agency, you will join a team of extraordinary people, who are really committed to providing the best possible support to all users of our services, and who have the necessary sensitivity, skills and experience to ensure they're able to do this. You will, therefore, benefit from training and on-going skills development, as well as friendly, professional support by our Volunteer Coordinators.




volunteer with  us

Volunteers' Journey

What happens when you offer to volunteer?


After your volunteering enquiry, we will give you a  brief call for an informal chat then send you an application form.

  1. You will then complete a Disclosure Scotland PVG application and we will take up 2 references.

  2. We will either meet with you or speak on the phone to find out about you, your interests, life experiences, family and more.   We want to get to know you.

  3. You can then begin your training – a programme in an informal setting where you will get to meet the rest of the volunteer team. 

  4. The aim of the training programme is to:

    • Clarify the befriending role and establish what a volunteers' responsibilities are.

    • Provide an understanding of a variety of issues relevant to mental health or dementia including communication; listening; support; guidance and the processes for discussing concerns.

    • To ensure you are aware of the boundaries and limitations of a befriending relationship.

    • To enable you to gain in confidence as a new befriender and understand the levels of support and training available to you as a valued member of the team at The  No.1 Befriending Agency.

  5. On completion of your training, you will receive a certificate and sign an Agreement with us.

  6. We will then carefully match you with a suitable befriendee, someone whom we feel you will be comfortable with and have things in common which will enable a friendship to develop.

  7. There is a settling in period of 3 months contacts where you will meet or speak with your coordinator after each visit to make sure all is going well and you have no questions.

  8. You will then make arrangements for regular contact with your befriendee on a weekly (usually) basis.  This is all discussed with your coordinator beforehand.

What rewards can our volunteers expect?
  • Training and on-going development: our training takes over two two-hour sessions and is designed to prepare you for your befriender role. After you have been matched, you are expected to meet your Coordinator every three months for support and supervision.

  • Regular supervision and plenty of support.

  • Expenses paid.

  • Opportunity to participate in optional peer support activities and training.

  • The satisfaction of knowing you are doing something invaluable with a little of your spare time.

  • Knowing you are helping improve another person's health and wellbeing.

  • Knowing that your contribution is highly valued.

  • Improve your CV and career opportunities.

  • Be part of the Scottish Government Saltire Awards if you're aged between 12-25years.

  • Enjoy meeting new people and developing meaningful friendships.

Does Befriending really make a difference?   

Research shows that befriending provides face to face friendship for older people to reconnect with the community and helps reduce loneliness.

Age UK pilot programme shows great promise in reducing loneliness. Read more:

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1 Cadogan Square, 51 Cadogan Street, Glasgow, G2 7HF

0141 465 6998


We are a Scottish Community Interest Company (CIC). Company Registration SC516418