b:friend is a small local charity specialising in befriending for socially isolated over-65s across South Yorkshire. They pair Older Neighbours up with a local volunteer who pledges to call twice a week to provide companionship and a friendly listening ear.
When the pandemic passes, these calls will be replaced with their usual hour-long weekly visits in the Older Neighbour’s home with a cuppa and a biscuit or three!
Their service is free and it is open ended; the Neighbour can use it for however long they need, and indeed they have found that over time the labels of ‘Older Neighbour’ and ‘volunteer’ dissolve, the two becoming close friends.
They welcome referrals from anybody, be they health professionals, community workers, family members or Older Neighbours themselves. There only criteria for referrals is that they must be over the age of 65, must live alone and not have a diagnosis of dementia or serious mental health needs.