Our innovative befriending service helps to tackle isolation and loneliness for the over 60’s in Edinburgh. Our free service is delivered by a wonderful team of dedicated, trained volunteers who offer encouragement, companionship and support to help our older people engage in social, leisure and community activities.
Our aim is to help individuals achieve personal goals such as increased independence, reduced isolation and to develop social networks. Our support is provided in a flexible manner, usually for up to 9 months, although this can be changed to suit the individuals needs.
We work with people who have been referred to us from health, social care and third sector professionals. In many cases our support is offered where there are concerns about isolation and/or loneliness but we also offer support to people experiencing:
- Poor mobility
- Returning home after a recent stay in hospital
- Living distantly from family or friends
- A caring responsibility
- Depression and/or anxiety
- A recent/early dementia diagnosis
We carefully match those we support with a volunteer who helps them achieve personal goals aimed at regaining independence and overcoming isolation and loneliness. We understand that everyone responds to different kinds of support, so we offer the following options:
- One-to-One Befriending
For a period of around 9 months, a volunteer supports the individual to achieve personal goals such as getting out-and-about more regularly. For those who prefer, we can arrange telephone support instead.
- Introductions to activity in the local community
We recognise that some people would simply benefit from a short amount of time to reconnect with their community; to get up-to-date with what’s on and make new connections. This might be a few afternoons over the course of a month or two with support from a volunteer.
We fully recognise the social benefit of engaging with group activity and encourage our clients to link into existing local groups. In partnership with Hibernian Football Club and Edinburgh Health & Social care we also run a weekly lunch club. We also facilitate the start of new groups where interest/need exists from regular social afternoons to a dedicated walking or craft groups.
If you’re a professional looking to make a referral please download our Golden Years Referral Guidance first. To discuss working together in more detail please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Operational since Spring 2017, our Golden Years service is currently funded by National Lottery Community Fund and Edinburgh Health & Social Care Partnership.