Looking for a befriender?



Are you looking for a befriender?

Looking for a befriender

If you are looking for a befriender for you (or for someone else) then this is the page for you.

Here at Visiting Friends, we know that feeling lonely or isolated is very common and affects people of all ages and backgrounds. Maybe you’re new to the area, live alone or are in care. Or maybe you’ve been bereaved or have a condition that prevents you from getting out and about. Whatever the reason, we really do understand that loneliness can eat away at your mood and confidence, making it difficult to feel like joining a group or making friends.

We know how important it is for your mental and physical health to try and stay connected with friends and to your community – so we’d like to help you if we can!

We offer two services:

Visiting Friends – your volunteer can visit you once a week to go out with you for cuppa, stroll or a shopping trip. Our volunteers are equally happy to visit you at home for a blether or to spend time on a shared hobby.

Visiting Friends

Talking Friends – your volunteer can make a regular weekly telephone call for a chat and a catch-up. When you get in touch with us, Debbie our Co-ordinator can help you decide which service is best for you.

Talking Friends

We match you with one volunteer, so you will see the same person each time.

Once you are matched with your befriender, you will both be invited to attend our coffee mornings and other events that we hold throughout the year.

Please note that our volunteers do not provide any personal or medical care – we leave that to the professionals!

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers:

Click anywhere in the grey box or the + to the right of each question to reveal the answers

Who is Visiting Friends for?

Our services are for any adult in Helensburgh and Lomond who is over 18. Our Visiting Friends can visit you anywhere in Helensburgh and Lomond (from Luss to Arrochar and Tarbet and Cardross to Rosneath and the Peninsula), just depending on where our volunteers are willing to travel.

Our Co-ordinator Debbie will first meet with you in your home, tell you more about our service and chat with you to see if our service is a good fit for you – e.g. if you would like to have a Talking Friend you need to be able to hear and be understood on the phone and have access to your own land line or mobile.

Is there anyone who can’t use your service?

Our services may not be ideal for people with severe memory loss, dementia or mental health issues as these conditions can affect a person’s ability to build a friendship or may incur safety issues that we can’t address. Our volunteers receive training but are not expected to deal with complex issues that require a higher level of support.

If this applies to you, please contact us to discuss your situation. If Visiting Friends is not able to help, we might be able to suggest another avenue of support.

I have carers, can I still have a Visiting Friend?


Visiting Friends is not a substitute for any of the statutory or professional services that you might already receive, and in fact we prefer you to have these in place already if you need them.

Who are your Volunteers and why do they do they volunteer with you?

Our local volunteers are both male and female and from all walks of life – just like our clients! They all have different reasons for volunteering e.g. many of them are retired with new free time on their hands, others may be new to the area and want to get to know new people – all of them tell us that they want to do something worthwhile and help others stay connected.

How do you ensure you get the right volunteers?

Good question – were glad you asked that! We take your safety very seriously by doing the following:

  • Interviewing the volunteer to make sure their motivation for volunteering fits with our ethos and that they can be committed to their role
  • Asking for and following up two character references
  • Asking them to undertake a disclosure check (a criminal record check) as part of the Government’s Protecting Vulnerable Groups scheme
  • Asking them to undertake our befriending training
  • Asking them to agree with our policies that cover things like your confidentiality

How does it work?

First of all we phone you to tell you a bit about us and set up an assessment visit, at your home, with our Co-ordinator Debbie Beggs.

If you would like someone else to be with you at the visit that’s no problem. If after the assessment you decide to go ahead we will place you on our waiting list while we find you a suitable volunteer match.

What if I talk to you or meet you and I don’t want to go ahead?

That’s no problem at all – you can decline the service at any stage! – the ball is always in your court and we would never pressurise you into having a Visiting Friend!

You can always call us again if you change your mind and want to have a befriender at some point in the future.

How will you match me up with someone?

Our co-ordinator Debbie will ask you lots of questions at your assessment visit to determine your preferences for things like:

  • Whether you would like a male or female befriender
  • What day and time is best for a visit
  • What you would like to do on your visits.

We take these preferences into account, (your personality too!) and then we try to find you the right match with one of our volunteers. You will see the same volunteer each time.  

How quickly will I be matched?

That just depends on the volunteers we have available at any given time.

We are keen to make the right match for you, rather than any match, so it can take anything from a few weeks to a few months to get set up. We promise that we will keep in touch with you and let you know how things are progressing.

What happens when you match me?

When we think we have found a suitable volunteer we phone you to arrange a time when Debbie can bring your potential new friend to visit you at home.

If after meeting you both agree to go ahead then a date will be set for your first solo visit with your friend.

What if things don’t work out?

Although we make every effort to find you a suitable volunteer, occasionally things don’t work out. Don’t worry! That’s why we stay in touch regularly. However we do ask you to remember that new friendships can take a wee bit of time to settle and you might both be nervous – so generally speaking, we ask you to try a few visits before deciding that it’s not for you.

If however you change your mind completely or have any concerns at any point then simply give us a call and we will sort out any issues.

Send us a message and get the ball rolling to use our service yourself or refer someone to us…