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Befriending Service

We recruit and train volunteers to support people who have become isolated and are living with a long term health condition or who are frail and elderly.  While befriending normally takes place within homes, at this time we are also offering telephone calls where it is not safe to go into people’s homes. The Befriending service is a partnership between Odiham Cottage Hospital and St. Michael’s Hospice.

Are you interested in having a befriender?

If someone has become lonely or isolated due to a long-term medical condition and would simply like someone to chat to, our befriending service is there for them.

All our volunteers are ordinary local fold, coming from all walks of life. There is no pressure on the people we visit and there is no hidden agenda. All our volunteers tend to share similar characteristics, being generous, caring and reliable.

Our volunteers are trained and and vetted; they will not judge or intrude. They are ordinary people who appreciate the value of companionship, be it chatting, enjoying a pastime together, taking a trip out, or just simply helping to do the things people like doing best. We will make sure people are visited by someone they like and trust.

Our befriending service offers a regular visit at a time suited and convenient.

Derek is great, we get on well together. We both worked in engineering and have similar interests. I am teaching him how to play gin rummy

Are you thinking about becoming a volunteer?

We recruit and train volunteers to support people who have become isolated and are living with a long term health condition or who are frail and elderly. People are referred to the service through their GP practice, community health team or another medical professional.

We ask our volunteers to commit a couple of hours each week to build a lasting and trusting relationship with the person they have been specifically matched with. All our befrienders find they benefit equally from these relationships. Volunteers can facilitate trips out and encourage shared activities but largely it is about enjoying meaningful conversations in good company.

It is wonderful to get instant feedback from the person you have befriended when you meet as well as knowing you are really helping the local community.

More about befriending

Working in partnership, St. Michael’s Hospice and Odiham Cottage Hospital’s befriending service aims to enhance the quality of life for adults suffering with a life-limiting illness and/or palliative care needs, i.e. the most vulnerable groups within the West Hart community. Referrals come via the Rural East Integrated Care Team and local GP practices.

By offering clients the opportunity to reduce social isolation and to form a trusting relationship with volunteer befrienders, befriending may enable the client to:

  • acquire a greater degree of self-confidence and emotional growth
  • enhance their capacity to make use of their own resources, as well those resources available to them within their community, i.e. other voluntary organisations and statutory agencies
  • cultivate and maintain relationships with others while reconnecting with their local community

Download an application pack

  • Befriending Service application pack


Further Information

If you would like more information about befriending, or for an informal chat about the service, please contact Una Tilt, the Befriending Service Manager, on 01256 393609 or by email at For more information on the vital work undertaken by Odiham Cottage Hospital you can visit their website at