In Funding Stories, Reducing isolation & disadvantage

Project: County-wide befriending services
Grant: £15,000
Fund: Prevention Matters

Age UK Buckinghamshire (AUKB) were awarded this grant to develop and sustain their Befriending services, with a focus on volunteer recruitment, as they desperately needed more Befriending volunteers.

AUKB have provided a countywide Befriending service for over 20 years. The primary aim of this service is to alleviate loneliness by creating, supporting and sustaining local friendships between community volunteers and socially isolated and lonely older people in Bucks.

Case study: How befriending benefits individual lives

Mr C lives alone in a cottage in a remote area, with his nearest neighbours further down the lane. His wife has dementia and is now in residential care. She no longer recognises him, which he finds difficult to deal with. He has two stepdaughters, but they do not visit him and he last saw one of them four years ago, when he was in hospital. He is no longer able to drive and so is very isolated. There is a shop in the next village, which delivers his shopping, but he has to rely on neighbours (none of whom live close by) to give him a lift to the doctor or to other appointments.

Mr C used to be a mechanic and he loves to tinker with anything mechanical. His cottage is filled with mechanical things of all sorts and he has a very old car in the garage, which he restored and is still in working order. We matched Mr C with a volunteer who was also a former mechanic and he visits every week for a couple of hours and they chat about all things mechanical.

Feedback from the client is that we could not have sent anyone better to befriend him. They have so much in common and so much to talk about and Mr C looks forward to seeing J, the volunteer. J also said how much he enjoys chatting with Mr C, as he finds him such an interesting man. J also takes him occasionally to the post office in the next village so that Mr C is able to get some money and pay his bills and get any bits he might need.