How the Befriending Scheme Works  Age Concern Christchurch receive referrals from Social Services, relatives, Health Visitors, Doctors, Nurses, or anyone in contact with an older person who is aware their circumstances fit the criteria. All referees are asked to check first with the older person (client) that they would like someone to visit them regularly. After receiving the referral, the Age Concern Christchurch Befriending Co-ordinator will contact the client to arrange a visit. As long as the client is appropriate for the scheme the Co-ordinator will endeavour to introduce them to a volunteer. All volunteers are interviewed and references received before joining our organisation. After introduction the organiser remains in contact with both volunteer and client on a regular basis. If either party is not happy with the match the organiser will place them both back on the list until a more suitable arrangement can be made.

One of our clients had this to say  “A lady visits me once a week and we chat for 2 hours. The subjects of our conversations are many and varied, but each one is painstakingly dealt with, and speaking solely on my behalf, I enjoy every one of them.  I feel that the 2 hour exercise has a very therapeutic effect on my otherwise sleepy old brain. And my volunteer, at every moment, is there to help me deal with every difficult nuance that may arise.

My grandson refers to this glorious 2 hour therapy as a ‘chattathon’.  I will always be ready to admit I enjoy the exercise.”

Volunteers Age Concern Christchurch is always seeking VOLUNTEERS for this Befriending Scheme. Volunteers do not do shopping, cleaning, or pushing wheelchairs. Many volunteers become firm friends with the older person and visit them for many years. Can you spare an hour a week to visit and talk to an older, less fortunate, lonely, housebound person? (We pay expenses). With the numbers of people over 65 set to explode in this region in the next 10 years, it is vital that this service helps to maintain independence. The aim of the Befriending Scheme is to enhance the quality of life, and alleviate social isolation by fulfilling emotional needs, contributing to the maintenance of mental health and preventing deterioration of the person. This is achieved by giving the older person undivided attention with emphasis on listening to them. The criteria for ‘older person’ is someone over 60 years of age, living alone, lonely, with little social contact, and who finds it difficult to get out of their home. Contact For more information on the Age Concern Christchurch Befriending Scheme, whether as a client or a volunteer, please contact the Age Concern Christchurch office on 01202 488 311.