National Diversity Awards 2021 Winner Interview: b:friend

4th April 2022

Winner of the Community Organisation Award for Age.

Over 9 million people in the UK – almost a fifth of the population – say they are always or often lonely. b:friend aims to build community connections to reduce older neighbours experiencing social isolation in South Yorkshire. Through 1:1 and group befriending, their objective is to enable opportunities for meaningful friendship to grow by facilitating interactions that wouldn’t ordinarily occur. Volunteer befrienders pledge to visit a socially isolated older neighbour near them for one hour per week for a cuppa and a chat. The charity provides truly equitable support with no cost at the point of delivery, ensuring that as they deliver this project in communities with particular social challenges, everyone can access support regardless of financial status. Since launching in January 2017, the charity has supported over 1,200 older neighbours and now deliver over 13,500 hours of social connection per year.