Fife Older Persons’ Service – volunteer befriending

There is a high rate of loneliness in Fife, particularly amongst older people.  The Older Persons’ Service volunteer befrienders provide much needed companionship and support to help older people of Fife to become more involved in their local communities.

What do we do

The Older Persons' Service recruits, supports, and trains people as volunteer befrienders.  By enabling older people to be connected, rather than cut-off, the volunteers help to improve their quality of life, and this can delay or avoid the need for more intensive support.

The Service matches trained volunteers with vulnerable older people to provide person-centred befriending support in people’s homes and in their communities.

This service recognises that a lot of older people need help to get out of the house,  someone to talk to, or help with small jobs around the house.  Volunteer befrienders offer support to help reduce social isolation, expand their social networks, and increase resilience.

How we can help you

The befriending service provides a regular volunteer befriender to work alongside an older person to rebuild their confidence, decrease social isolation through regular visits, or by putting them in touch with other specialist agencies if needed.  This support could be weekly or fortnightly and by telephone conversation or a face-to-face visit. 

Face-to-face visits could be as simple as a conversation over a cup of tea or coffee in the older person’s home, an activity, or support to carry out some basic tasks.  Face-to-face befriending can also take place in the community: supporting someone to attend a GP appointment, go shopping, for a walk or visit a local garden centre or café (including a LinkLiving social cafe). 

The befriendee and befriender agree a set day and time and will discuss the older person’s goals to help make sure they get what they want and need from the relationship.

The Older Persons’ Service works with volunteers, offering a network of skills, practical help, and friendship which benefits everyone involved whether helping or being helped.  This reduces the prospects of members becoming socially isolated again and supports people to improve or manage their mental and physical health.

I had not been out of the house in years before I got support from a befriender.

Older Persons' Service member

How can you get support

This service is for people aged 65+ based in Fife.  People can refer themselves, be referred by a family member or another organisation.  

If you would like more information on our Older Persons' Service please contact us.

Thank you to our funders

This service is funded by the Fife Health and Social Care Fund. This service also benefitted from Connecting Scotland, a Scottish Government initiative managed by SCVO, set up in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This support enabled many digitally excluded people to get online and take part in digital social cafes.