As people get older, they are more likely to report feeling lonely or isolated. Befriending services can make a huge difference to the lives of older people, offering companionship and checking in with them regularly about any concerns they may have. These services can come in many forms, from afternoon tea parties to an occasional phone call.
We have compiled a list of befriending services in Kent below.
Find Local Befriending Services Across Kent
Kent Coast Volunteering Good Neighbours Project
The Good Neighbours Service is a volunteer befriending service aimed at reducing the feeling of loneliness and isolation among older people in Dover, Thanet, Folkestone and Hythe. All of their volunteers are DBS checked and trained, and look to help build lasting friendships through regular visits from the same volunteer. You can contact your local hub using the information below or visit their website for more details.
Telephone: 01304 367898
Telephone: 01843 609335
Folkestone and Hythe:
Telephone: 01303 259007
SMILES Befriending Services – North West Kent
For over 35 years, SMILES has provided one-to-one befriending for older people who are socially isolated, with weekly visits from a volunteer. Their befriending service is available to people living in the boroughs of Dartford and Gravesham, or the Northern Parishes of Sevenoaks District, including Swanley and the surrounding villages.
Telephone: 01322 272476
Swale CVS – The Befriending Service
Swale CVS run a befriending service to provide one-to-one support for older people who are socially isolated. This service is only available to residents of Swale, and is completely free to use. You are able to refer somebody to The Befriending Service yourself, with the consent of the person being referred.
Telephone: 01795 473828
West Kent Befriending Service
The West Kent Befriending Service is based at the Age UK Maidstone office and covers the whole of Maidstone and the surrounding villages. Their service is also appropriate for older people with dementia or other mental health problems.
Telephone: 0800 048 4668
CARM Befriending Service – Ashford, Folkestone & Hythe
CARM offer a range of befriending services across Sussex and Kent, serving Ashford, Folkestone and Hythe. They offer home visits (weekly or fortnightly, for an hour or two), telephone calls (once or twice a week, for 5 – 20 minutes), and an email befriending service which provides flexibility and convenience. All of these services are free.
Telephone: 01233 758122
Age UK Befriending Services
Most Age UK services in Kent offer a local befriending service. You can find your nearest Age UK branch here. Their volunteers are trained, have references, and have an enhanced DBS check.
Age UK also offer the Call in Time telephone befriending service. They aim to match likeminded people with similar interests who will give them a weekly phone call. You can sign up for the Call in Time service on the Age UK Website.