The workshop was part of a research project run by Emily, who had the opportunity to do a piece of research that would make a difference to the social sector. As a volunteer befriender for over 5 years, who had witnessed a number of changes during this time, she chose to focus on the future for befriending in the UK.

Download a short workshop report, which presents the results of a short survey and highlights of the workshop discussion, shares 5 case studies and offers further information about monitoring and evaluation as this was the key area which befriending organisations felt could improve their service delivery.

Watch the workshop video here:

5 “Take Home” Messages from the workshop:

  1. Befriending means different things to different people: it is not a one-size-fits-all service. The term does not always cover the breadth of activity and can be perceived as patronising
  2. Funding, managing volunteer responsibilities, and a lack of evidence and ability to measure impact, were the most frequently faced challenges by befriending schemes
  3. Technology, ‘micro’ volunteering, increased demand and offering a flexible and personalised service were most cited opportunities for befriending
  4. Fears for the future held by befriending schemes include supporting more fragmented families, a significant reduction in state support and loss of community and conversation
  5. Hopes for the future include improved life expectancy and health, more flexible volunteers and more communal living