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Commissioning Befriending A guide for adult social care commissioners


									Commissioning Befriending:
A guide for adult social care

 A guide to help
 commissioners improve the
 health and well being of local
        Commissioning Befriending Services: A guide for adult social care


Introduction                                                                     1

What is befriending                                                              2

Models of delivery                                                               4

Putting people first through befriending                                             6

Improving outcomes through befriending                                           7

Outcomes of befriending – cost effectiveness                                     9

The South West Landscape                                                        11

Improving the health and well being of the South West population
through befriending                                                             13

Increasing social networks and social capital                                   14

Volunteering: Involving people and communities in delivering
and developing social care services                                              15

Commissioning the delivery of high quality befriending services                 16

Conclusion                                                                      21

Appendix A: Further information to support commissioners of Adult Social Care   22

Appendix B: South West Befriending Directory

Cover photo – Womankind ( Bristol) a project for women with mental health problems

        Commissioning Befriending Services: A guide for adult social care

The Mentoring and Befriending Foundation (MBF) have been commissioned by the South West Joint
Improvement Partnership, to develop a guide to assist those responsible for commissioning social
care across adult services. Befriending has been identified by the national Putting People First
Programme as one of the most effective early interventions both in relation to outcomes for people
and cost effectiveness.
The following guide will help to inform commissioners about how befriending is being delivered in
the South West region to improve health and well being outcomes, increase independence and
reduce the need for long term care and support. It sets out clearly the process and steps needed to
effectively commission high quality befriending either as a stand alone intervention or as part of an
integrated package of care and support to help address wider determinants of health, including
leisure, housing, transport and environmental services.

Using the guide
The guide aims to describe what befriending is and the positive benefits it can have on a wider range
of populations, including individuals, service providers, commissioners and the wider adult social
care workforce. It provides detailed information on the outcomes that can be achieved through
befriending and seeks to demonstrate why further investment in befriending at the local level can
help commissioners fulfil obligations to embed personalised care planning in their localities. It will
also provide commissioners with better intelligence upon which they will be able to make informed
decisions about social care service planning as well as provide a framework for community sector
collaboration and provider sustainability.

The following guide draws upon examples of current befriending practice being delivered in the
South West by the voluntary and community sector and reflects the experiences of those providing
and receiving befriending using a case study approach. It also draws upon materials and guidance
produced by the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation (MBF) and feedback from commissioners
and befriending providers through a series of consultations that the MBF have undertaken over the
last sixteen months.

A range of support information to strengthen commissioning intelligence about befriending has
been included in Appendix A. A directory of South West befriending providers can be located in
Appendix B and can help commissioners identify where befriending is currently being delivered and
where gaps in provision maybe occurring. However, it is worth bearing in mind that this directory is
by no means a comprehensive list of South West befriending providers and only contains those
befriending schemes that responded to the MBF’s South West mapping exercise. Additional advice
and guidance can also be obtained from the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation (MBF).

Aims of this guide
In recent years commissioning has become established as an important process in helping to drive
forward improvements in social care and improving outcomes for local populations. This guide will
support commissioners of Adult Social Care to relate relevant outcomes for social care based on
individual need to the range of befriending interventions and a framework for quality which helps
them to engage with local community befriending organisations to help deliver their objectives more

This document will provide commissioners with guidance on how to plan for and effectively
commission befriending services to support a wide range of populations; including adults with
learning or long term physical disabilities, older people, their carers and adults with poor mental
health to ensure meaningful outcomes. For commissioners already commissioning befriending, the
following guidance can be used to inform current practice, embed standards and provide
opportunities to enhance existing partnerships with community providers.

We hope it will:-

       Improve your understanding of definitions of befriending, giving a common perception of
        where befriending can be a beneficial intervention
       Help you to identify the most appropriate model of befriending to meet the individual needs
        and desired outcomes of local populations in need of social care support.
       Provide examples of how befriending can offer commissioners value for money, including
        the social and economic cost benefits that can be achieved for particular adult populations.
        Enable you to shape the befriending provider market by supporting and investing in the
        development of high quality local befriending provision.
       Set standards including user expectations to drive up the quality of befriending provision
       Improve community sector befriending commissioning by re-modelling current practice to
        reflect good practice examples of effective commissioning partnerships.

What is befriending?
Befriending is an intervention that is being widely used to address the ‘human -to -human’ support
needs of vulnerable people. It can offer vital support during pivotal or transitional periods in a
persons life including, leaving hospital after an illness or periods of mental or physical ill-health,
including long term conditions. For people receiving befriending, the social and emotional support
they receive from a befriender can often lead to significant and lasting improvements in their
emotional health, well being and quality of life.

Befriending is an activity which involves the development of relationships in which one individual,
usually a trained volunteer gives time to provide informal support and encouragement to another,
often over a long period of time. Befriending relationships are based on trust, confidentiality and
mutual involvement whereby both the volunteer befriender and service user gain from the
relationships formed over time.

Meeting the needs of individuals
Befriending programmes are wide reaching, spanning all ages at different stages of people’s lives.
Many people from diverse backgrounds engage with befriending schemes and

often they are people who find themselves disadvantaged, socially isolated or unable to participate
or cope with daily activities. The barriers faced by many vulnerable people, including disability, ill-
health or advancing years can often impact significantly on a person’s quality of life resulting in
sustained periods of social isolation and poor emotional and physical health.

Because befriending services are personal, sensitive and flexible to a person’s individual needs, they
can take on a range of forms in response to different needs. Some programmes are established to
address a particular social issue such as disaffection or disadvantage. Others will be part of a wider
policy or framework where they contribute and add value to a broader programme of support, for

       Increase independence for older people living on their own by assisting them with practical
        tasks inside and outside of their home.

       Reduce social isolation and improve well being for people with mental ill health by providing
        a visiting service to users in their own homes or assisting them to access local amenities or
        participate in recreational activities to increase confidence and self esteem.

       Increase independence for adults with learning or physical disabilities and provide ‘short
        break’ opportunities for carers by assisting service users to engage in leisure and social
        activities on a regular basis.

       Reduce social isolation of people living with dementia and provide respite for their carers by
        providing weekly home visiting to provide mental stimulation and improve mental well

       Reduce re-admission rates of older people, recently discharged from hospital following a fall
        or stroke by providing through the hospital door befriending support prior to leaving
        hospital and for a period after discharge to aid re- ablement and build resilience.

A unique voluntary relationship
Befriending is a voluntary activity that has a long established place within the delivery of
social care services and is highly valued by both the service user and the volunteer befriender. One
of the key strengths, commonly reported by those in receipt of befriending is the unique value
placed by the client on the voluntary nature of the befriending role and the relationship they have
with their befriender. Many consider befriending as offering a distinct type of support which is
uniquely different from the practical or functional day to day support provided by statutory services
or other paid workers, who are under a professional obligation.

Befriending as a volunteering activity has many benefits including; a chance to make a real
difference to someone’s life; a sense of purpose, especially true for older volunteers during a time
when their social roles maybe changing; a chance to learn new skills which could lead to
employment or training or opportunities to meet like minded people that can help open up or
extend existing networks or widen opportunities to participate in something worthwhile.

In addition to the social benefits of being a volunteer befriender, there are also a number of
individual health benefits which are a distinct part of the self reinforcing nature of befriending,
including; keeping physically active by undertaking regular physical or social activities; maintaining
independence through increased opportunities to get out of the house, this is an important outcome
for older volunteers who may be experiencing their own health challenges and improved mental
health and well being as a result of increasing social networks and building new relationships with a
diverse range of people in community settings.

In all cases befriending can make a positive and lasting difference to all of those involved and
provide a foundation for positive and lasting change.

Models of delivery
Traditionally, befriending involves a one-to-one relationship based on regular face-to-face meetings,
but this has evolved to include a range of different models and styles.

One-to-one Befriending
This classic model is widely used to provide regular face-to-face contact to those who have become,
or are at risk of becoming socially isolated. One-to-one befriending can play a strong preventative
role in helping those at risk to, create new or sustain existing social links, access local services and
facilities, meet like minded people through clubs and groups and meet people with similar needs to
provide reciprocated support.

One-to-one interventions can be used to provide support to older people who have become isolated
due to bereavement, poor mobility or recent hospital discharge. It is often delivered as a stand alone
service or as part of an integrated approach to delivering new community based out of hospital care
services such as intermediate or re- ablement. It can also be used to support younger people with
learning disabilities or those with enduring mental health problems access and participate in social
or mainstream activities, including employment, volunteering and training.

 Case Study: Splitz Support Service – Buddy Scheme

 Splitz provides a range of one to one services, including support for parents and children who have suffered or
 witnessed abuse. Most of the service users who access Splitz have suffered domestic abuse and as a
 consequence have low self-esteem are socially isolated and may struggle with parenting and household
 responsibilities. More often than not service users have been diagnosed with depression

 Sarah has 4 children and had suffered with physical and emotional abuse from her ex-partner and as a
 consequence suffered with physical and mental health problems. Sarah had low self esteem and suffered from
 severe anxiety which prevented her from leaving her home; this led to Sarah becoming increasingly isolated.
 Sarah was matched with a volunteer befriender who visited Sarah every week at her home to help build up her
 confidence and self esteem. After 8 months of home visiting Sarah and her befriender slowly progressed to
 engaging in activities outside of the house.

 This slow but steady progress continued until now, some 6 months after the end of the
 befriending relationship, Sarah goes out of the house every day and does whatever she needs or wants to do.
 She feels in control or her own life, happy being a parent and able to manage her family. She now feels that as
 the children get older, she would like to start part-time work outside of her home.

Telephone Befriending
 This model is used to provide regular one-to-one or social group support to a service user or group
of users in their own home via a telephone link. It is often facilitated by volunteers and delivered
from either the office of the host organisation or a volunteer’s home. Telephone befriending is a
model used to overcome barriers of geographical limitations, in particular when the provision of face
to face support is difficult due to the rural or remote environment in which a potential service user
resides. Telephone befriending is also used by national organisations to provide specialist targeted
Support, advice and guidance to those individuals or families recovering from, or learning to live
with, a specific health condition.

 Case Study: Meningitis Research Foundation’s (MRF) - Befriender Network

 The Bristol based foundation set up its befriender network in 2000 and provides a network of trained
 befrienders who all have different experiences of meningitis and septicaemia. They aim to match and provide
 personalised telephone support to anyone affected by meningitis and septicaemia throughout the UK and

 “After surviving meningococcal septicaemia and had returned home, I felt so alone, so confused and very, very
 angry inside. My life and capabilities had turned upside down. It was so hard to get my head around; I had lost
 memories, I was in pain and was so very depressed. I needed someone to talk to, who could help me and my
 wife understand what this dreadful illness had done to our lives. I contacted Meningitis Research Foundation
 and through the Befriender’s Network, I was put in touch with an amazing guy. I cannot express how much this
 person, whom I did not know and who did not know me, helped me so, so much in the road to getting my life
 back to as normal as possible.” (Trevor)

Group Befriending
This model provides service users or individuals with a shared interest or similar concern, the
opportunity to meet with one another on a regular basis in an informal and friendly environment.
Group befriending provides opportunities to exchange information and share worries with others
who have a shared understanding and can offer solutions based on their own experiences. Group
befriending is often facilitated by volunteers and usually takes place on a weekly basis. This model is
frequently used to support individuals who face similar problems, for example a specific health
condition or for carers responsible for the support of a family member with a learning or physical
disability. It is also widely used to aid re-ablement and promote active living for those at risk of
emergency re-admission to hospital following a period of hospitalisation.

 Case Study - Mind Restormel Association for Mental Health – Fitness to Wellbeing Group

 The Fitness to Well Being Group was set up to meet a gap in service provision identified by service users in receipt of
 Mind Restormel’s befriending service. The service supports adults with and recovering from mental ill health that are
 experiencing social or geographical isolation and suffer from depression. The fitness to well being group was set up
 to provide opportunities for people with mental health problems to socialise and meet with others facing similar
 difficulties, whilst undertaking physical activities to help improve their sense of physical and emotional well being.
 The group meets regularly and its members participate in activities such as badminton, squash, swimming and going
 to the gym.

 ‘ I had a wonderful sense of achievement yesterday - I didn't feel a write off – I actually felt O.K. Full
   of admiration for you as course manager, ignoring my negativity, ('no' to lunch, 'no' to the gym, ‘no' to
   juice, 'no' to talking) wow, that was so brilliant of you to somehow have pressed forward with them all.. Even my son noticed
   and commented on how much better I am today. It really IS an AMAZING COURSE –
   how very glad I am that I saw the article in the paper and there was room for me. Thank you so very
    much and the fundraisers too who made it possible? Looking forward to next Tuesday (Mrs R, 70 yrs, suffering from

This model is often used to bring older and younger people together to share a two-way learning
experience by building trust and respect between generations. Intergenerational activities can often

create opportunities for older members of a community to remain physically active and emotionally
stimulated through active participation. This model is frequently used within schools to support
learning, promote social responsibility and civic engagement but is becoming more widely used by
organisations to promote well being and aid the sense of purpose for older people.

Putting people first with befriending
Individuals and communities are at the centre of social care planning and service design, of which
the key to success is being able to show the difference an input or service makes to someone’s life.
To support this cultural shift, services will be expected to become more personalised and more
preventative in their approach, and be able to support the wider Big Society agenda that aims to
empower communities so that they are better equipped to take responsibility for their own
neighbourhood provision.

These major reforms make effective community sector commissioning a necessary requirement to
shape local markets in collaboration with independent, voluntary and community sector

Commissioners now need to ensure that both universal and targeted approaches are available to
support a focus on effective prevention and personalisation. The case studies in this framework
demonstrate how befriending can contribute to achieving success in each of the following core

1. Universal approaches designed for all
Befriending can be used to maintain independence, promote good health and well-being, provide
opportunities to engage in social activities, increase social networks and provide people with
information about other services and support available.

Befriending can also help to identify those most at risk within our communities because it operates
at the local/neighbourhood level to support those most hard to reach individuals who do not
regularly access statutory health support and who may not be eligible for social care and whose
health needs tend to go unnoticed. As a result of receiving regular visits from a befriender a service
user’s health needs can be monitored and any deterioration in health or difficulties with maintaining
independence can be identified and treated at an early stage.

2. Targeted support for particular groups
Befriending can help support other social care interventions such as rehabilitation or non-residential
domiciliary personal care to maximise a person’s functioning and independence by supporting the
emotional health and well-being of the individual. Befriending can also operate as a low-level
intervention after other interventions have ceased, as a continuation of low-level support to build
and maintain resilience.

3. Personalised support
 Everyone who needs support from statutory, third or private sectors, whether they can access it as
a universal service, whether they pay for it themselves or whether they are eligible for council
funding, is entitled to decide which service best provides for their needs. The pressure is on for
people eligible for local authority funded social care to use personal budgets to purchase their own
care that can help them achieve their desired outcomes.
Commissioners and the befriending sector are learning to adapt and develop person-centred
services that have been co-designed with stakeholders, including providers, service users and their
families/carers. Collaborative approaches to service planning and design can ensure that through on-
going dialogue, equal access to the benefits of services like befriending can be accessed by people
with or without personal budgets to meet their social care needs.

Improving outcomes through befriending
The recent consultation “Transparency in outcomes: a framework for social care “sets out the
importance of demonstrating progress by using outcome focused measures, quality assurance and
public transparency.”

Commissioners have been set a universal framework to achieve success in a number of outcome
domains. The table below demonstrates how befriending interventions relate to each of these
outcome areas and can help commissioners deliver on objectives.

Adult social care     Adult social care outcome      Outcomes for befriending interventions
outcome domain        statements
Promoting             • People live their own lives      Continued or increased independent living
personalisation       to the full and can maintain       Increased inclusion in the community /
and enhancing         their independence by                reduced social isolation
quality of life for   accessing and receiving high       Gain new skills and knowledge – this could
people with care      quality support when they            be greater access to work and training
and support           need it.                             opportunities
needs                 • Carers can balance their         Greater involvement in social activities
                      caring roles and maintain          More use of own expertise and own
                      their desired quality of life.       resources
                      • People have control and          Helps people to build or retain community
                      manage their own support             or family connections
                      so that they can design what,      Befriending as a whole family approach –
                      how and when support is              any case study examples?
                      delivered to match their           Greater ability to manage own lives
                      • People engage socially as
                      much as they wish to avoid
                      loneliness or isolation.
Preventing            • Everybody has the                Maintenance and improved physical and
deterioration,        opportunity to have                  mental health
delaying              optimum health throughout          Improved well-being and general quality of
dependency and        their life and proactively           life
supporting            manage their health and            Reduced depression
recovery              care needs with support and        Early intervention means less dependency
                      information.                       Improved routine, greater sense of purpose
                       • Earlier diagnosis and           Improved relationships and increased
                      intervention means that              resilience
                      people are less dependent          Become more active
                      on intensive services.             Reduced need for acute health and care
                      • When people become ill,            support
                      recovery takes place in the        Retain or regain the benefits of community
                      most appropriate place, and          membership or gaining employment and
                      enables people to regain             making a positive contribution to the
                      their health and wellbeing           communities they live in (for people who
                      and independence.                    need ongoing support)
                                                         Improved well-being brings a range of
                                                           benefits including reduced health risk

Ensuring a         • Social care users and carers      Greater control and support
positive           are satisfied with their            More informed choice and decision making
experience of      experience of care and               about support services available
care and support   support services.                   Provision of information leading to better
                   • Carers feel that they are          access to universal services
                   respected as equal partners         Helps to retain personal dignity
                   throughout the care process.        Stay connected to friends, families and
                   • People know what choices           communities
                   are available to them locally,      People helped to decide and pursue their
                   what they are entitled to,           goals
                   and who to contact when             Greater determining of own outcomes
                   they need help.                     Challenges stigma of people with mental
                   • People, including those            health issues through volunteer training etc
                   involved in making decisions         (?)
                   on social care, respect the
                   dignity of the individual and
                   ensure support is sensitive to
                   the circumstances of each
Protecting from    • Everyone enjoys physical          Improved networks of support
avoidable harm     safety and feels secure.            Staying healthy and actively involved in
and caring in a    People are free from                 communities for longer
safe environment   physical and emotional              APS projects mean that people receiving
                   abuse, harassment, neglect           befriending support have confidence in
                   and self-harm.                       services that they use are high quality and
                   • People are protected as far        safe
                   as possible from avoidable
                   deaths, disease and injuries.

Outcomes of befriending – cost effectiveness
The following case studies describe the outcomes which are particular to client groups, and in
addition, identify evidence of where the intervention has avoided or decreased reliance on statutory
social care services.

Befriending to support Mental Health

 Case study: Voluntary Support Scheme

 The Voluntary Support Scheme (VSS) matches individuals suffering with mental health problems to a volunteer
 befriender who provides weekly home visits to help people plan what steps they would like to take in order to
 change the way things are. The scheme also provides a service user forum so individuals are able to openly discuss
 issues around mental health as well as a self-help group which complements the home befriending service by
 providing a social element to the support provided by its volunteers.

 Paulette’s story
 Paulette was referred to the scheme by the mental health team which was providing support to her alongside her
 GP. Paulette was unable to leave the house on her own due to anxiety issues and was experiencing difficult
 relationships with her partner who was occasionally violent towards her and her three children. Paulette used
 prescription drugs and alcohol to cope with her overwhelming anxiety.

 Initially, the befriender made weekly home-based visits and accompanied Paulette to the shops, local health centre
 and on occasions went out for a coffee. As Paulette’s mental health improved, the visits were gradually reduced
 over the year to monthly visits with telephone support in between. As a result of having a befriender, Paulette no
 longer requires support from the mental health team and her visits to her GP have reduced.

 Her children’s behaviour has also improved as a result of Paulette becoming more confident and assertive; this has
 led to a decrease in statutory intervention from schools, health and police. Paulette has also started working as a
 volunteer in a local school for three days a week. In addition, Paulette has more control over her anxiety and no
 longer relies on prescription drugs or alcohol to support her.

 Public sector and other cost savings:

 Paulette’s health and well-being has improved which is demonstrated through her reduced reliance on using
 alcohol and drugs to cope, suggesting that the befriending intervention has helped to prevent any future costs
 relating to alcohol-related problems.

Befriending to support older people

 Case study: Age Concern Forest of Dean Befriending service

 Age Concern Forest of Dean offers a range of services to promote the well-being of older people suffering from rural and
 social isolation to make their lives more fulfilling and to help maintain their independence at home. The befriending
 service initially used volunteers to provide short-term support to older people on their discharge from hospital and has
 since operated as a longer-term befriending intervention.

 Jean’s story

 Jean was a widow in her mid-80s with a number of serious underlying health problems and was in hospital at the time of
 her referral to the befriending scheme. A volunteer befriender visited and maintained telephone contact with Jean for a
 period of two and a half years. Some of the activities that Jean’s befriender supported her with included, visits to her GP,
 hospital outpatient appointments, shopping and social outings. The ongoing support provided by the befriender meant
 that Jean felt she no longer needed help from Social Services as she felt able to manage things for herself. Jean also felt
 more confident about herself and wanted to increase her participation in social activities within her local community.

 Public sector and other cost savings

 The befriending service operates on only £5,000 per annum as they benefit from cross-subsidisation from other funding
 projects which cover most of their core costs including premises. This has enabled 79 placements delivering volunteer
 support of at least one hour per week. If you calculate the minimum wage, the in-kind time it is worth is almost £25,000
 per annum.

Befriending to support sensory or physical disabilities

 Case study: Cornwall Blind Association

 Cornwall Blind Association provides people in Cornwall who have been affected by sight loss with practical services and
 support so that they can continue to lead independent, fulfilled lives. The majority of clients accessing the befriending
 scheme are affected by isolation due to mobility or transport difficulties but also by lack confidence or skills to carry out
 everyday tasks and activities.

 Sam’s story
 Sam is visually impaired and has learning difficulty. He was referred to the project by Social Services with the request for a good
 role model who could help support his development and build his confidence as Sam had an unstable background and lacked
 stimulation. Sam was introduced to one of the organisation’s activity clubs with a befriending arrangement made with one of th
 scheme’s younger volunteers who would drive and accompany Sam to the club on a regular basis.
 At first, Sam found it difficult to relate to the other service users in the group and the befriender played a major role in guiding
 and helping him to build relationships with the other service users. Sam has now settled into the group and excels himself in man
 of the activities that he undertakes; he also has a more positive attitude and outlook on life and feels better able to cope with
 everyday tasks

 Public sector savings
 Sam will still need social care services but some positive elements of his development have been addressed which in the
 long term could improve Sam’s quality of life and reduce the need for long term care and support

The South West Befriending Landscape
A number of factors are set to increase demand for adult social care in the South West region over
the next 15 – 20 years, these include:

      An increase in adults with disabilities surviving into middle and old age
      An increase in the numbers of non disabled people living longer but with long term or
       complex conditions such as dementia or poor mental health
      A rise in the numbers of older people living alone in their own homes
      A decrease in the proportion of middle aged people who are potential providers of care

According to the South West Observatory’s
west/ report there are currently 5.2 million people residing in the South West. Whilst the South
West may have a relatively small total population (7th largest of the 9 regions) it has seen the fastest
rate of population growth of all the English regions over the past 20 years, a trend which is expected
to continue.

The region also has the greatest proportion of inhabitants of pensionable age than any of its other
English regional counterparts. Over the next 20 years the proportion of older people living in the
South West is expected to increase by over 500,000. A significant rise is also predicted for those
aged 85 and over, the population growth for this age group is set double to 150,000 by 2030,
exceeding the national average.

Sub national population projections conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) every 2
years suggests that by 2030, the sub counties of
Bristol, North Somerset and West Dorset are predicted to have the highest South West projected
population growth with around 43% of the local population over the age of 65. This rapid rise in
elderly age distribution indicates that over the next 10 – 20 years the South West will witness a
significant shift in its population structure towards that of an increasingly ageing population.

The implications of an ageing population are wide ranging but an increase in the numbers of people
living for longer into ‘older’ old age will influence an increase the health and well being needs of a
local population. As people get older the prevalence of disabilities, frailty and chronic conditions
such as Alzheimer’s, cancer and cardiovascular disease increases dramatically and susceptibility to
the negative impacts of social isolation will increase as more people find themselves unable to
participate in day to day activities. An ageing population presents enormous socio economic and
health challenges for local authorities and local health and social care systems as raised levels of
need and service user expectations will place extra demands on health and social care services.

The social implications of an ageing South West population
As a person ages, they will often have to face a number of life changing challenges, the loss of a
spouse or partner, having to adjust to living alone, a medical condition that may prevent them from
leading a full and active life, family relocation, state retirement or selling a home to move into
residential care. Whilst some people are able to manage and cope with the consequences of
transitional episodes such as these, there will be many people who will find themselves unable to
adjust or cope with difficult situations, for these people, adverse situations can often impact
negatively on their social, emotional and physical well being and result in long term dependency
upon social care services.

Rachel’s story
Rachel is 25 years old and has cerebral palsy; she currently lives at home with her parents in Bristol. In her teens
Rachel had lived independently at a college in Cornwall, she had lots of friends both disabled and non- disabled and
had what she considered to be a fantastic social life. On returning home to Bristol after completing her course,
Rachel became incredibly lonely as many of her friends from college lived in other parts of the UK, with no
opportunities to socialise, means to get out of the house or employment opportunities, Rachel became withdrawn
and started to spend long hours in her bedroom . Over a period of a few months, Rachel became increasingly
isolated, depressed and was starting to have suicidal thoughts about ending her life.

Rachel with the support of her family decided that she would benefit from having a befriender who could take her
out into the local community to socialise and participate in fun activities. Unfortunately there was no service
available in Bristol that could provide the support that was specific to Rachel’s needs, so together they set up a local
charity ‘ Young & Free ’ to provide individuals like Rachel with the opportunity to socialise and engage in
mainstream activities with the help of local volunteer befrienders. With the support of befrienders who are mostly
university students, Rachel and her other disabled peers regularly engage in activities such as bowling, attend music
concerts and discos. Rachel has also pursued her passion for computer design and is now undertaking work
experience with a view to employment. Rachel is also hoping to move out of her parent’s home as she now feels
confident enough to live independently.

 Jane’s story
 Jane is 61 years of age and has suffered from chronic ME for over 10 years; she lives in Devon with her
 disabled adult son and her husband who has recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Jane moved to
 the South West from London with the hope that her son would have a better quality of life. Jane found it
 very difficult to fit into a small rural village where everyone knew one another; she had very few friends and
 found it extremely difficult to fit in. As a result of long periods of social isolation and feelings of loneliness ,
 Jane become depressed and physically fatigued, after 6 months of being bed ridden, ME was later diagnosed.

 Jane was matched with a befriender after self referring herself to the Voluntary Support Scheme in Tiverton.
 Initially Jane hoped that a befriender would help motivate her to get better quicker but unfortunately Jane’s
 condition has deteriorated over the years. Jane’s befriender visits her once a week to listen to Jane and
 provide her with emotional support to cope. Social outings are rare due to fatigue but together they have set
 up an ME support group and a local Christian community group to help bring members of the community
 together. The relationship that Jane and her befriender have together has enabled Jane to build new social
 relationships and access local networks of support and she now feels part of her community.

Social Isolation
Social isolation refers to the pervasive withdrawal or avoidance of social contact or communication
with other people. There are considered to be two forms of social isolation, objective social
isolation, the physical act of separation from others, for example, the loss of a spouse or infrequent
involvement in social activities and perceived/subjective social isolation, the feelings associated
with being socially isolated such as loneliness, not belonging and a perceived lack of social support.

Research into the effects of social isolation has revealed that there a wide range of negative effects
linked to social isolation. These include anxiety, depression (Cacioppo et al, 2006), all cause
mortality, morbidity, increased cardiovascular disease ( House 2001) and increased risk of falls, a
major cause of injury and premature death amongst the over 70’s (Cathran et al, 2005). All factors
can lead to the likelihood of ill health and premature death and can generate high personal and
societal costs (Knapp et al 2010).

Whilst social isolation appears to be most common amongst the elderly with over half a million
pensioners reporting to only leaving their home once a week
facts; younger adults including those who are housebound and disabled have reported limited

engagement with the modern world as a result of feeling anxious and insecure about accessing
public transport and undertaking mainstream activities

Single parents of small children also report feeling lonely, powerless and reluctant to engage with
their local communities as a consequence of their situation. Adults
who find themselves homeless, have a drug or alcohol addiction or have recently been released from
prison after a long period of confinement are also highly susceptible to social isolation.

 Julian is 43 years old and has spent the last 20 years living alone in his caravan after debt problems and the
 breakdown of his marriage forced him to leave the family home. Julian never claimed any statutory benefits,
 preferring to do odd jobs to help make needs meet. About a year ago Julian’s caravan became infested with
 rats which over a period of time impacted detrimentally on his mental and physical health. Julian in an
 attempt to rid the rats stopped eating and as a consequence developed an eating disorder, believing that the
 uncooked food in his caravan was enticing them in. He also lost his job at the local secondary school as
 sleepless nights being kept awake by scampering meant he kept falling asleep at school. Julian eventually
 decided to leave his caravan and made himself homeless, for 6 months he slept in the back of an abandoned

 Julian found out about Doorway, a Chippenham based organisation which supports and works with
 individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness through a friend. Doorway quickly got things moving
 for Julian and with support from a trained volunteer befriender helped Julian access appropriate advice,
 accompanied him on interviews, appointments and visits with the NWDC and Westlea Housing Association
 and helped him fill in the necessary administrative forms. As well as practical assistance the Julian found the
 kindness, sympathy and support of all the volunteers and guests at Doorway kept him motivated enough to
 stay long enough to be offered a suitable property in the local area. Julian is now living in a council house
 that he can call home, Julian still visits the centre for support, workshops and to network with other people in
 similar situation.

Improving the health and well being of the South West population through Befriending
Befriending is a support mechanism that can help to reach out to those most at risk of social
isolation within our communities. Whilst there are those that choose to live a solitary life and may
not consider themselves to be lonely, there are many people who live in objective isolation that fall
under the radar of local health and social care systems, only presenting themselves when their
mental or physical health deteriorates and statutory support is required.

Prevention for all
As a preventative intervention, befriending has the unique ability to operate across all levels of the
prevention framework. It can be used to support people with low to moderate health and social care
needs to prevent people from entering into the system and requiring social care for the first time. It
can also be used to maintain the equilibrium so that further deterioration of an existing condition is
prevented and the need for extra care is diminished. Befriending can also be used to support people
with high-level complex needs to help reduce long-term dependency upon acute service provision
such as residential care. The following demonstrates how befriending can be applied in practice to
support people with differing levels of need.

Promoting well-being – primary prevention
Primary prevention is aimed at people who have no particular social care needs, symptoms or
illness. At this level, befriending can be used to maintain independence, promote good health and
well-being, provide opportunities to engage in social activities, increase social networks and provide
people with information about other services and support available.

Early intervention - secondary prevention
Secondary prevention is aimed at identifying those people at risk in order to slow down or halt
further deterioration. At this level befriending can help identify those most at risk within our
communities because it operates at the local/neighbourhood level to support those most hard to
reach individuals who do not regularly access statutory health support and who may not be eligible
for social care and whose health needs tend to go unnoticed. As a result of receiving regular visits
from a befriender a service user’s health needs can be monitored and any deterioration in health or
difficulties with maintaining independence can be identified and treated at an early stage.

Maximising independence – tertiary prevention
Tertiary prevention aims to reduce disability or deterioration from established health conditions or
complex social care needs. At this level befriending can help support other social care interventions
such as rehabilitation or non residential domiciliary personal care to maximise a person’s functioning
and independence by supporting the emotional health and well-being of the individual. Befriending
can also operate as a low-level intervention after other interventions have ceased, as a continuation
of low-level support to maintain health and well being and to reduce the incidence of ill health.

Increasing social networks and social capital
Befriending can help provide opportunities for people who have care and support needs and who
maybe susceptible to social isolation with a mechanism to access social activities or groups outside
of the home. Unlike many re-ablement services that provide practical support within a person’s
home to promote independence, befriending can extend re-ablement support outside of the home
and attend to the social needs of an individual by helping them develop and maintain social
relationships and participate in community activities.

A lack of meaningful social relationships, network ties, social connections and infrequent interaction
with others are considered to be leading factors in the likelihood of experiencing depression, a major
component of ill health and premature death (Cacioppo et al, 2006). Increasing opportunities for
those whose social ties are likely to diminish as a result of a disability, chronic condition or poor
emotional and physical health through interventions like befriending can help embed people into
social networks of sustainable support.

Social relationships are considered to be beneficial to health and well being because they can help
link people to social networks that facilitate access to a wide range of resources to support re-
ablement, promote good health or signposting to groups that are attended by people with similar
issues or concerns. Being embedded within a social network is thought to promote health enhancing
behaviors and increase a sense of control and self esteem (Kinney et al, 2005). It can also help
individuals to build resilience so that they are better able to develop strategies to cope with adverse

Developing opportunities for people who have care needs to access sources of social support and
social capital can help reduce the negative impact of social isolation. Befriending is an intervention
that can help build social capital and connect vulnerable individuals with their local communities and

experience through social interaction the friendships and support that can come from families,
friends and neighbors.

Elizabeth is 83 years old and a widow; she lives independently at home with no home care support. Since her
husband died, Elizabeth had gradually withdrawn from her local community and spent long lengths of time in
isolation with only her dog for company. Elizabeth was struggling to cope as her dog that was quite old had
become ill. Elizabeth’s mobile chiropodist contacted The Churn project, a Cirencester based community
organization set up to address inequalities in the area who operate a community befriending scheme ‘
Cirencester Good Neighbors’ to help reduce the isolation and loneliness of older people.

Elizabeth was matched with a volunteer just as her dog died. Initially the weekly visits consisted purely of
conversation as Elizabeth remained low in mood for some time. However over recent months Elizabeth’s
confidence has improved to the extent that she recently accompanied her volunteer to a party which has
stimulated her appetite for company. Elizabeth now attends a number of activities, social group meetings and
outings provided by the Churn project. She still gets depressed but having her volunteer befriender to talk too
has helped her to be resilient enough to manage without any statutory intervention.

Volunteering: involving people and communities in delivering and developing social care services
Volunteering can also build social capital as it can help combat feelings of personal isolation
particularly for those who volunteer, foster social inclusion and contribute to building a strong and
cohesive community. For many years voluntary befriending has played a key role in providing
targeted one to one support to those most at risk of isolation and exclusion to help them integrate
and feel part of their communities. Befriending can also help facilitate formal and informal
interaction between people generating a greater sense of community spirit and civic responsibility.

Bill is a patient in a Cornwall Community Foundation Trust Activity Centre and has the support of a
CPN as he suffers from mental health issues; he lives with a family in a supported living setting. Bill
is a person who finds difficulty in timekeeping and committing to tasks and activities. He will
readily engage in conversation and is keen to undertake tasks , however he finds it very difficult to
concentrate and lacks commitment.

Bill was referred to the Viva (Volunteering in Vulnerable Adults) project. Viva provides a number of
opportunities for young adults who have a physical, mental, learning or sensory disability to
participate in fun and meaningful volunteering activities. Through volunteering the project hopes
that people like Bill will gain a degree of independence, self autonomy and help them feel as if they
are contributing to their communities. Viva has developed an initiative with the activity centre that
Bill attends to train patients to become mentors and befrienders so that they are able to support
other patients like themselves.

Bill was matched with Stan who has Aspergers Syndrome and they meet at the centre at least once
a week. As a result of the befriending relationship, Bill has now completed a Link into Learning
Literacy Course at the local learning centre, something that he had attempted to do on two
occasions but due to his lack of commitment never actually managed to achieve. Stan has also
benefitted through his role as a volunteer befriender and has now started volunteering at a local
college supporting 4 young men with autism and is working with the teacher and school senco .

The South West Volunteering Landscape
The South West has a vibrant social purpose sector and rates of volunteering are higher in the
South West than any other English region for both formal and informal volunteering with higher rates of
volunteering being provided by older people. The provision of unpaid care being provided by
family members and neighbors to people with long term, physical or mental health conditions,
disability or problems related to old age is also higher in the South West than in any other English
region , suggesting that unpaid
care can also build social capital.

The recent Department of Health strategic vision for volunteering (Volunteering: involving people
and communities in delivering and developing health and social care services, 2010) identifies the
long established place of voluntary activity in health and social care settings and its importance in
complementing and reducing pressure on mainstream statutory services to improve their quality of
care. The report highlights many volunteer roles, including peer support, mentoring and befriending,
through which volunteers provide vital support that contributes to prevention and well-being of
those most in need. The report describes how volunteering can play a key role in the delivery of
public services that help to improve health and well-being and identifies befriending as a good
example of how volunteering can have mutual health benefits for those involved.

Although volunteers are by definition unpaid, volunteering itself, in any sector, still requires
investment to ensure that volunteer involvement is properly supported. Where services are
commissioned, there should be a recognition of the need to cover the costs of recruiting, training
and managing volunteers to ensure they enjoy sufficient support to fulfil their role. As well as initial
training the on-going costs of management support, refresher training and out-of-pocket volunteer
expenses all need to be met in order to maintain a motivated volunteer force.

Commissioning the delivery of high quality befriending services

Developing effective support structures
In its pledges for action on commissioning, the Department of Health gives its commitment to
encouraging systematic investment in mentoring and befriending services and in building local
community capacity and social capital.

Major shifts in the South West’s population structure over the next 15-20 years will see an increase
in the numbers of people requiring more help from services that will enable them to live their lives
to the full. To help mitigate adverse socio economic and health consequences of an ageing
population, investment into preventative interventions such as befriending that address the
emotional and physical well being needs of a person, particularly during periods of adverse
transition may help protect against later life depression, disability and chronic health conditions.

Commissioners within Adult Social Care will have to balance this potential demand for social care
support within the constraints of a tighter public sector financial climate and will need to ensure that
they commission services that achieve the greatest health gains, deliver on investment and reduce
health inequalities. In order to achieve the range of choices required by a more personalised
approach to adult social care, local authorities will need to work in partnership with local
stakeholders, including voluntary sector service providers, their users and carers to assist the
expansion of preventative interventions.

Collaborative approaches
The call for more localised sector collaboration to strengthen local service delivery (Transforming
Adult Social Care, 2008), echoes a steadily growing acknowledgement that the third sector is well
placed to offer effective interventions at the local or neighbourhood level. A recently published
report Promising Returns: a commissioners guide to investing in mentoring and befriending
programmes (2010) gives several instances of why commissioners have been impressed by the
ability of local groups to provide targeted mentoring and befriending support to help them deliver
on a number of priority objectives

Collaboration between statutory agencies and the voluntary and community sector, including its
service users will be vital in delivering on some of the current coalition government’s reforms and
visionary aspirations for adult social care. Increasingly, commissioners will have the responsibility
for shaping their local markets which will require effective collaboration with independent,
voluntary and community sector organisations to help build capacity, capability and choice for local
populations in need of social care support services.

Joint commissioning frameworks which bring together those responsible for planning and
commissioning public services on behalf of local populations provide a number of new opportunities
for the wider third sector to become involved in local commissioning. In addition the sector can also
provide added value by contributing to the practical application of the coalition Government’s civil
society agenda ‘Building the Big Society’.

Locally based voluntary and community sector providers are well placed to help commissioners
extend their reach into communities in order to deliver cost effective social care services
ning%2C%20community%20organisations%20and%20collaboration.pdf. Traditionally, strengths of
the sector include

       Expertise and knowledge of local service need, including challenges and opportunities
       Skills in operating and delivering services on tight budgets
       Ensuring a level playing field fore service delivery and capacity building
       Achieving outcome focused results
       Provide a bridge to communities and groups that are outside the mainstream

Approved provider standard
The Approved Provider Standard (APS) is the national standard for mentoring and befriending in
England. It is the only quality standard that has been specifically designed for the mentoring and
befriending sector and is recognised by the Office of the Third Sector, now the Office of Civil Society
and the Department for Children, Schools and Families, now the Department for Education. It is also
recognised and used by other funding agencies including Children in Need and the Big Lottery as a
checklist for its grant assessors to use when reviewing applications that have been received from
mentoring and befriending programmes.

Since its launch in 2001 over 900 mentoring and befriending programmes have been accredited of
which 80% of approved providers have sought re-accreditation upon the expiry of their approved
status after 3 years.

What are the key benefits of a quality standard for service providers?
The Approved Provider Standard is a national quality benchmark for organisations that provide one-
to-one volunteer mentoring and befriending. The standard aims to provide programmes with a
badge of competence and safe practice in mentoring and befriending. It also provides a framework
upon which providers can examine their management and operational practices to ensure that key
protocols and procedures such as staff training, operational arrangements, regulation compliance
and risk assessment processes have been properly attended too.

The achievement of APS can be used to underpin a programme bid for future funding and become
more attractive to funders and commissioners due to a proven record of safe, effective and
professional practice.
What are the key benefits of a quality standard for commissioners?
The Approved Provider gives recognition to those mentoring and befriending programmes that have
sound management and operational structures in place and are meeting desired outcomes.
Commissioners can be assured that programmes that have achieved APS or are working towards a
quality standard are operating to a nationally-approved benchmark of quality and safe practice. APS
criteria can also provide a mechanism for commissioned programmes without a quality standard to
reflect upon existing practice using an exercise in good practice to strengthen and develop internal
processes to bring

The 12 principles for the effective commissioning of befriending
The following twelve elements sets out the core features of a safe and effective befriending service
and can help commissioners make informed decisions about which befriending services to
commission. It can also act as a good practice checklist to help commissioners align outcomes with
elements of the APS quality framework.

Element 1      The befriending project or service has a clear rationale and purpose
Element 2      There is an effective organisational and management structure in place to support
               the project or service
Element 3      The competence of staff involved in the project or service is developed and
Element 4      There is a clear process for the identification and referral of service users which takes
               into account their needs and suitability for the service
Element 5      Service users are fully briefed and /or prepared for their involvement in the project
               or service and understand how relationships will proceed
Element 6      There is a rigorous and robust recruitment and selection process in place for
               potential befrienders
Element 7      There are appropriate arrangements in place to safeguard the involvement of
               participants in the project or service
Element 8      Volunteer befrienders receive adequate preparation and training so that they can
               offer effective support to service users
Element 9      There is a clear and consistent process in place for matching service users with
               volunteer befrienders
Element 10     There is on-going supervision, support and additional training opportunities for
               befrienders to help them develop in their role.
Element 11     The progress of relationships are regularly and routinely monitored to determine
               whether they are functioning successfully and desired outcomes are being achieved
Element 12     The overall effectiveness of befriending as an intervention is evaluated to improve
               service delivery, outcomes and service user expectations.

The diagram below identifies how the 12 principles of the Approved Provider Standard support each
part of the commissioning cycle and can provide commissioners with a framework to use when
commissioning befriending.

Case Study: Commissioning a befriending service for people with dementia
The following case study demonstrates the processes that a local authority commissioning team
went through to identify and commission a local organisation providing low level preventative
support to help them in meeting a local priority.

Commissioned body
Sandwell Primary Care Trust

Project commissioned
BUDS (Better Understanding of Dementia for Sandwell – a befriending project for people with

Commissioner with responsibility
Sam Hay is the commissioner for the Carers Strategy at Sandwell Council and works closely with the
commissioning team for the Dementia Strategy. Having identified a need, the council wanted to
commission a low level preventative strategy that allowed volunteers to offer support and gave an
opportunity to carers.

Tender process
Sandwell PCT’s commissioning team held an open application process with the tender advertised
through the Providers’ Forum, local voluntary and community networks, and the joint
commissioning team working on the Dementia Strategy. The successful BUDS pilot scheme met the
specific requirements, particularly with the volunteer-led support. The project allowed scope for
development, and provided an opportunity for carers and ex-carers to show their expertise and have
a voice in policy development.

Good practice observed
The commissioning team was impressed with the keenness of the project’s co-ordinator to engage in
a consistent dialogue and with his ideas for developing the project. The project was realistic about
the numbers it could support and didn’t try to impress the commissioning team by over-estimating
what it could achieve. By tapping into the local authority employee volunteer scheme, the project
created links with good potential volunteers and kept in touch with carers who were no longer in a
caring role but were interested in continuing to use their expertise and experience.

What helped to build a good relationship?
The commissioning team found it helpful to see that the organisation and the project had a good
track record and when the organisation moved into the Sandwell area, it held a conference and
invited the local commissioning team to attend. BUDS showed that they had carried out a good
mapping exercise of local services and were developing complementary and innovative services,
rather than simply duplicating. The project had shown a good understanding of the local area and
the needs in relation to the older population, and it worked hard to build a good relationship with

By tapping into the Carers Strategy and the Dementia Strategy, the project had managed to link two
areas of funding together for the benefit of the service users. Early in the relationship the project co-
ordinator arranged for some volunteer carers to attend a meeting, which gave the commissioning
team a chance to understand what the project would mean in reality from the volunteers’

Additionally, one volunteer carer expressed an interest in getting involved in a carer service user
involvement group to develop an opportunity for carers to support other carers effectively.

Advice and tips for other commissioning bodies interested in commissioning befriending

        Get out of the office and meet the people involved with the commissioned work
        Understand the terminology of the project (in this case, befriending)
        Building on relationships will help the move into the personalisation of budgets
        As social services are able to provide specific areas of support, the third sector will pick up
         extra work, so relationship building is key to effective commissioning
        As traditional services change, commissioners need to know what else is available
        To boost communication and build relationships, commissioners should keep an open
         dialogue with each other and become familiar with the language of the third sector.

How does mentoring and befriending fit into future priorities and plans?
The commissioning team believe that mentoring and befriending will play a big role in the future
care services of vulnerable groups, particularly when local authorities are financially constrained.
However, befriending should not be seen as a cheap option and that it is crucial that commissioners
don’t under-cost services. Evidence is vital – and independent evaluation should always be part of
the package – to assess the work being carried out.

Investment in befriending services as part of a wider package of integrated social care can help
commissioners address the social needs of vulnerable individuals living within local communities
who may be susceptible to the negative impacts of social isolation.

Befriending can help compliment and enhance the practical support provided by existing re-
ablement services by helping to ensure that all individuals have meaningful social ties, participate in
activities and are able to access social networks for additional support and information. This is
especially important for those whose health and well being may already be compromised.

While recognising that some types of befriending can be costly forms of intervention, the cost of not
investing in local befriending provision that can help improve health and well being outcomes for
local populations could be much higher for Local Authorities in the long term.

Appendix A

Further MBF Information to support commissioners of Adult Social care

Befriending works: building resilience in local communities- a report into an intervention that can
help improve health and well being at all levels of need (2010)

Befriending – reducing social isolation, exclusion and improving the quality of life for vulnerable
people (Spring 2010)

Transforming Lives: examining the positive impact of mentoring and befriending (2009)

Personalisation – A South West perspective (2010)

Talking Quality Standards – a short promotional film – hear what funders and projects have to say
about the Approved Provider Standard (2009)

Approved Provider Standard (APS) Information leaflet (2009)

Mentoring and Befriending: a case study approach to illustrate its relevance to cohesion and cross
cultural issues (2008)

Funding Survey Reports 2009 & 2010 – these reports provide an overview of the funding climate
and key challenges facing mentoring and befriending projects, including how the recession is
impacting on their work

Research Summaries: building the evidence for mentoring and befriending, these summaries list key
findings from research studies and evaluations by client ‘need ‘groups (2009)

A synthesis of published research on mentoring and befriending (2007)

Additional information and resources to support the commissioning of befriending

Devonlink Age Plus: Finding paper – Information as a preventative service

Citizenship Survey 09 -10 – the latest national statistics published by Communities and Local
Government, data covers a range of issues including community cohesion, empowerment, values,
racial and religious prejudice and discrimination, volunteering and charitable

Life Opportunities Survey - (LOS) is a new survey that aims to measure and compare how disabled
people and non disabled people participate in society in a number of areas, including public
transport and health services, their participation in leisure activities and employment opportunities.
It also aims to find out why people don't take part in work or leisure activities that they would like
to, or why they may experience difficulties in using public services

Regional Health Profiles (2010) - Health Profiles give a snapshot overview of health for each local

Authority and region in England. They are designed to help local government and health services

make decisions and plans to improve local people's health and reduce health inequalities. The

profiles present a set of key health indicators that show how the area compares to the national and

regional average

IDEA – is the National Programme for Third Sector Commissioning, it aims to increase awareness and
understanding, develop more third sector involvement and improve bidding practices. There are
eight principles to successful third sector commissioning and it is recommended that commissioners
work closely with befriending programmes to help embed these principles into their commissioning


Building the Big Society (2010) Cabinet Office (CAB), 059 -10, 18 May 2010

Cacioppo. J & Patrick. W (2006) Loneliness, Human nature & the need for social connections

Cacioppo. J. T., Hughes, M. E., Waits, L.J., Hawkley, L.C., & Thisted, R.A (2006) Lonliness as a specific
risk factor for depressive symptoms: cross sectional & longitudinal analysis. Psychology & Ageing, 21,

Cathran. M., White. M., Bond. J., Learmouth. A. (2005) Preventing social isolation and loneliness
among older people: a systematic review of health promoting intervention. Ageing & Society, 25, 41

House. J (2001) Social isolation kills, but how & why? Psychosomatic medicine, 63:273 – 274

Knapp. M., Perkins. M., & Snell. T. (2010) Building community capacity: making an economic case

Transforming Adult Social care (2008) Local Authority Circular (LAC), Department of Health

Volunteering: involving people and communities in delivering health and social care services (2010)
Department of Health

Appendix B                                               South West Befriending Providers

                                                                     Needs group: Older people                       Reduced social isolation

Project name: Age Concern Forest of Dean                             Issues addressed: rural and social isolation,   Increased independence towards self
                                                                     poor mental and physical health, high           support
Address: 1 Goscox Court, Hill Street. Lydney GL15 5HJ                levels of illiteracy, reduced access to
                                                                                                                     Access to social networks and informal
Lead contact: Alan Gore                                              transport
E-mail:                           Model of befriending: One to one home
                                                                     visits                                          Improved quality of life
Telephone:01594 845621                                                                                               Increased capability to undertake
                                                                     Geographic reach: Forest of Dean,
Website:               Gloucestershire                                 everyday tasks

Project Name: Bournemouth Society for the Visually Impaired          Needs group: Sensory disabilities               Reduced social isolation

(BSVI) Befrienders                                                   Issues addressed: Impairment of visibility      Increased independence towards self
                                                                     often leading to social isolation, loneliness   support
Address: 5 Victoria Park Road, Bournemouth, BH9 2RB                  and a reduction in sense of self worth.
                                                                                                                     Increased capability to undertake
Lead Contact: Geraldine Bradley                                      Model of befriending: One to one home           everyday tasks
E-mail:                          visits                                        Access to social networks and informal
Telephone: 01202 522184                                          Geographic reach: Primarily Bournemouth,
                                                                 but includes Christchurch/Poole and
                                                                 surrounding areas

Project Name: Camborne & Redruth Live at Home Scheme             Needs Group: Older People                     Reduced feelings of loneliness

Address: All Saints Church Community Centre, Church View Road,   Issues addressed: Social isolation,           Reduced social isolation
Camborne TR14 8RQ                                                depression, loneliness
                                                                                                               Improved confidence and self esteem
Lead Contact: Diane Bruford                                      Model of befriending: One to one home
                                                                                                               Improved mental health as depression
                                                                 visits, group befriending
E-mail:                                                                   and anxiety reduced
                                                                 Geographic reach: Camborne, Redruth and
Telephone: 01209 719062                                          surrounding areas                             Increased independence

Website:                                                                     Access to social networks

                                                                                                               Frequent interaction with others

                                                                                                               Reduced need for statutory support

Project name: Caradon Befriending Scheme                         Needs group: Mental Health                    Increased independent living towards
                                                                                                               self support
Address: 4 Pannier Market, Callington, Cornwall, PL17 7AD        Issues addressed: Anxiety, social isolation

Lead contact: Julie Facey                                    OCD, schizophrenia, Bi polar disorders          Improved access to social and health
                                                                                                             related activities
E-mail:                       Model of befriending: One to one home
                                                             visiting                                        Improved emotional health and well
Telephone:01579 384881
                                                             Geographic reach: Caradon area of
Website:   Cornwall                                        Increased access to social networks and
                                                                                                             informal support

                                                                                                             Increased community participation

Project Name: Mind Restormel Fitness to Well Being           Needs Group: Mental Health                      Increased levels of physical exercise

Address: 2A Hamley Court, Dennison Road, Bodmin PL31 2LL     Issues addressed: Social isolation,             Improved mental health as depression
                                                             loneliness, depression, inability to take       and anxiety reduced
Lead Contact: Dr Maureen Newman                              part in social activities or socialise due to
                                                             lack of confidence and self esteem.             Access to social networks
                                                             Model of befriending: Group befriending         Frequent interaction with others
Telephone: 07779 789426
                                                             through social and physical activity            Reduced need for statutory support
Website:                    sessions

                                                             Geographic reach: Bodmin, North Cornwall

Project Name: Cirencester Good Neighbours                    Needs Group: Older People                       Reduction in isolation

Address: 23 Sheep Street, Cirencester, Gloucestershire       Issues addressed: Housebound, social            Maintenance of good mental and
                                                             isolation, memory problems, anxiety             physical health
                                                             ,depression , lack of confidence, poor

GL7 1QW                                                                 physical health                               Increased confidence, resilience and
Lead contact: Ro Lyon                                                   Model of befriending: One to one home
                                                                        visits, group befriending through social      Frequent interaction with others
                                                                                                                      Access to social networks and
Telephone:     01285 642566                                             Geographic reach: Cirencester and South       community activities
Website:             Cerney
                                                                                                                      Reduced need for statutory support

Project Name: Cornwall Connect                                          Needs group: Communication disability         Improved quality of life
                                                                        ( Aphasia)
Address: Unit 4 Old Cowlins Mill, Penhallick, Carn Brea, Redruth TR15                                                 Increased independence toward self
3YR                                                                     Issues addressed: Social isolation,           support
                                                                        frustration, limited access to transport,
Lead contact: Steve Nicholls                                            inability to integrate into society post      Reduced social isolation
                                                                        stroke, lack of confidence, limited speech.   Improved speech

E-mail:                                     Model of befriending: One to one hospital     Access to support through social
                                                                        or home visits                                networks
Telephone: 01209 716501
                                                                        Geographic reach: Cornwall ( countywide)      Increase in community participation

Project name: Cornwall Blind Association                                Needs group: Visually impaired                Reduced social isolation

Address: The Sight Centre, Newham Road, Truro, Cornwall TR1 2DP     Issues addressed: social isolation, limited   Increased independence towards self
                                                                    mobility, limited access to transport, lack   support
Lead contact: Patricia Fawcett
                                                                    of confidence to carry out day to day tasks
                                                                                                                  Increased participation in mainstream
E-mail:                               Model of befriending: One to one home         community activities
Telephone: 01872 266710                                             visits
                                                                                                                  Increased capability to undertake
Website:                                   Geographic reach: Central and North           everyday tasks, such as dealing with post
                                                                    Cornwall                                      and bank accounts.

                                                                                                                  Access to social networks and informal

                                                                                                                  Reduced need for statutory support

Project name: Dawlish and East Teignbridge Volunteer Bureau         Needs group: Older people                     Reduced social isolation
Community Support Scheme
                                                                    Issues addressed: Isolation due to infirmity, Reduce isolation and loneliness.
Address: The Manor House, Old Town Street, Dawlish, Devon EX7 9AW   Psychological problems, sudden illness,
                                                                    bereavement, lack of confidence, disabilities. Improve mental, physical health and
Lead Contact: Shirley Fewings                                       recovering from illness.                       wellbeing.

E-mail Address:                    Model of befriending: One to one home         Help to maintain independence

Telephone: 01626 888321                                             visiting

Website:                                      Geographic reach: Dawlish and East

Project Name: Devon County Association for the Blind                Needs group: Older people with sensory        Reduced social isolation

Address: Station House, Holman Way, Topsham, Exeter, Devon EX3 0EN   or physical disabilities                     Increased independence towards self
Lead Contact: Sue Snell                                              Issues addressed: Visual impairment,
                                                                     additional health conditions such as         Increased participation in mainstream
E-mail Address:                               diabetes, heart problems, arthritis,         community activities
Telephone: 07580 787 308                                             reduced mobility and social isolation
                                                                                                                  Increased capability to undertake
Website:                                       Model of befriending: One to one home        everyday tasks
                                                                     visiting Geographic reach: Mid Devon
                                                                                                                  Access to social networks and informal
                                                                     District Council boundary

Project Name: Doorway ‘Moving on Project’                                                                         
                                                                     Needs group: Adults who are homeless or Reduced dependency on support services and
                                                                     at risk of being homeless                     welfare benefits.
Address: The Studio, 36 The Causeway, Chippenham, Wiltshire SN15                                                   Reduction in preventable homelessness.
3DB                                                                  Issues addressed: physical or mental ill  Reduction in need for specialist interventions by
                                                                     health, relationship issues, poor life skills, health and welfare agencies.
Lead contact: Lisa Lewis                                             substance use, low self esteem,                 Reduction in anti-social behaviour locally

E-mail:                                   discrimination, poverty, isolation and  Improved self esteem
                                                                     homelessness                                     .
Telephone: 01249 445385
                                                                     Model of befriending: One to one support
Website:                           provided by volunteers, group peer
                                                                     support also provided through the centre

                                                                     Geographic reach: North Wiltshire

Project Name: Dorset Blind Association Home Visiting and Support     Needs group: Adults with sensory               Increased independence
Service                                                              disabilities                                   Increased community participation

Address: 19 Bournemouth Road, Lower Parkstone, Poole, Dorset, BH14   Issues addressed: Sight Loss, old age,         Increased access to social networks and informal
0EF                                                                  physical mobility challenges, and social       support
Lead contact: Jonathan Holyhead                                                                                     Improved physical and mental well being
                                                                     Model of befriending: One to one home
E-mail:                                  visits Geographic reach: Dorset, including
Telephone: 01202 717860                                              the boroughs of Bournemouth and Poole


Project name: Eldertree Ltd Support and Befriending                  Needs group: Older people                     Increased independent living towards
                                                                                                                   self support
Address: Astor Court, 6 Cattedown Road, Plymouth PL4 0PF             Issues addressed: Social Isolation, Fuel Poverty,
                                                                     Adaptation requirements, Income Maximisation, Improved access to social and health
Lead contact: Robbie Nairn                                                                                         related activities
E-mail:                                                                                   Improved emotional health and well
                                                                     Model of befriending: One to one home         being
Telephone: 01752 690085                                              visiting
                                                                                                                   Increased access to social networks and
                                                                     Geographic reach: All areas of Plymouth       informal support

Project name: Home- Start West Somerset                           Needs group: adults with mental health;        Improved parenting stress and
                                                                  adults with learning, sensory or physical      depressive symptoms
Address: The Old Coach House, Martlet Road, Minehead. TA24 5DY    disabilities; homeless, drug and alcohol
                                                                  misuse; offender / ex offenders.               Improved social and emotional
Lead Contact: Ali Sanderson                                                                                      development of children within the
E-mail Address:              Issues addressed: Depression, isolation,       family
                                                                  loneliness, ill-heath, disability, substance
Telephone: 01643 707304                                           misuse, bereavement, disengagement             Access to social networks and informal
                                                                  from services, debt and behaviour              support
                                                                  management.                                    Increased access to additional service
                                                                  Model of befriending: One to one home          support
                                                                  visiting                                       Reduced social isolation
                                                                  Geographic reach: West Somerset District
                                                                  Council Boundaries

Project name: Meningitis Research Foundation’s (MRF) Befriender   Needs group: Anyone affected by                Reduced feelings of isolation
Network                                                           meningitis and septicaemia throughout the
                                                                                                                 Increased access to additional service
Address: Midland Way, Thornbury, City of Bristol BS35 2BS         UK and Ireland                                 support
Lead contact: Becki Wordsworth
                                                                                                                  Access to social networks and informal
                                                                  Issues addressed: Physical ill health, depression,
E-mail:                                       anxiety, loneliness, social isolation,          support

Telephone: 01454 281 811                                                                                     Reduced depressive symptoms
                                                                  Unemployment, relationship problems resulting

Website:                                from going through a life changing experienceIncreased independence

                                                                  Model of befriending: Telephone


                                                                    Geographic reach: UK and Ireland

Project name: Mind Restormel Befriending Scheme                     Needs group: Mental health                     Access to social networks and informal
Address: 4 Cheltenham Place, Newquay, Cornwall. TR7 1BA             Issues addressed: Social isolation,
                                                                    loneliness, lack of confidence to access       Increase in the numbers of meaningful
Lead Contact: Lynne Newman                                          standard community services, lack of day       social relationships
E-mail Address:                            time activity.
                                                                                                                   Increased confidence
Telephone:01637 851155                                              Model of befriending: Group befriending
                                                                                                                   Development of new skills and interest
Website:                                                           Geographic reach: Restormel area of
                                                                                                                   Improved health and well being Cornwall
                                                                                                                   Reduced social isolation

Project name: Midwest European Communities Association              Needs group: Ethic groups                      Improved emotional health and well
‘ Lingo-Link’                                                       Issues addressed: language barriers,
                                                                    vulnerability, discrimination, social isolation, Increased access to social networks and
Address: 20 South Street, Yeovil, BA20 1QE                                                                           informal support
                                                                    hate crime, social exclusion

Telephone:01935508242                               Model of befriending: One to one support    Improved English Skills for migrants,

                                                    Geographic reach: South Somerset,           Reduction of cultural and language
                                                    Mendip and West Dorset                      barriers,

                                                                                                Increased employment opportunities

Project name: Splitz Support Service Buddy Scheme   Needs group: Single Parents especially      Reduced stress and anxiety
                                                    where there has been domestic abuse
Address: 29 Duke Street, Trowbridge, BA14 8EA                                                   Reduced dependency on health and
                                                    Issues addressed: Domestic abuse, loss of   other statutory services
Lead Contact: Bronwen O’Byrne                       self esteem, high degrees of isolation,
                                                    struggling with parenting and practical     Improved parenting skills
E-mail Address:
                                                    tasks, depression and anxiety.              Increased independence and
Telephone: 07525 803354                                                                         involvement in social networks
                                                    Model of befriending: One to one home
Website: www.splitz.irg                             visiting                                    Increased access to work and training
                                                    Geographic reach: Wiltshire                 opportunities

Project name: Time For Life                         Needs group: Older people facing social     Increased confidence

Address: Unit 1, Manaton Court, Matford Business Park, Matford,        isolation                                        Improved opportunities to get out and
Exeter, EX2 8PF                                                                                                         about
                                                                       Issues addressed: mobility restrictions,
Lead contact: Susan Howell-Richardson                                  rural isolation, loss of confidence, inability   Improved health & wellbeing
                                                                       to use public transport, marginalisation,
E-mail:                           poverty, memory loss, vulnerability and          Improved social integration and sense of
                                                                       reduced social networks.                         belonging
Telephone: 0845 296 7810
                                                                       Model of befriending: One to one home            Enhanced skills

                                                                       Geographic reach: County of Devon

Project name: Time to Talk                                             Needs group: Older people                        Increased confidence

Address: Beck House, Becks Square, Tiverton , EX16 6PJ                 Issues addressed: mobility restrictions,         Improved opportunities to get out and
                                                                       rural isolation, loss of confidence, inability   about
Lead Contact: Cathy Lamb (Co –coordinator) or Debbie Westlake (Chief   to use public transport, bereavement, low
Officer)                                                               income, legal issues, depression, anxiety        Improved health & wellbeing

E-mail Address or                          and neglect                                      Access to social networks and informal                                    Model of befriending: One to one home            support

Telephone: 01884 255369 or 07967 157740                                visiting                                         social integration and sense of belonging
                                                                       Geographic reach: Tiverton, Cullompton &

Website:                             District (EX16 & EX15)

Project name: Volunteering in Vulnerable Adults                    Needs group: Clients have a disability           Increased confidence, self esteem and
                                                                   (Learning, sensory, physical, mental) or         self worth
Address: 7-9 Old Bridge Street, Truro, Cornwall, TR4 8HX
                                                                   have long term illness
                                                                                                                    Community participation and increased
Lead contact: Terry Stanton                                        Issues addressed: Discrimination, physical       feeling of social responsibility
E-mail:                            and mental ill health, infrequent
                                                                   interactions, few meaningful relationships,      Development of meaningful
Telephone:07866536735                                              too much time to spare with little to fill the   relationships
                                                                   day                                              Opportunities to access work experience
                                                                   Model of befriending: One to one and             and develop CV
                                                                   group befriending support

                                                                   Geographic reach: County of Cornwall

Project name: Voluntary Support Scheme                             Needs group: Mental health                       Improved confidence and self worth

Address: Beck House, Beck’s Square, Tiverton, EX16 6PJ             Issues addressed: Discrimination, stigma, isolation,
                                                                                                                  Improved relationships with others
                                                                   unemployment, housing difficulties,

Lead contact: Dawn Hampshire                                             physical and mental ill health              Improved emotional health/wellbeing

E-mail:                               Model of befriending: One to one and        Increased independence
                                                                         group befriending support
Telephone: 01884 258507                                                                                              Access to social networks and informal
                                                                         Geographic reach: Mid Devon                 support
                                                                                                                     Reduced isolation

Project name: Womankind Bristol                                          Needs group: Women with mental health       Improved mental health and well being
Address: 3rd Floor Brunswick Court, Brunswick Square, Bristol, BS2 8PE                                                Improved relationships
                                                                         Issues addressed: Stigma, discrimination,   poor
Lead contact: Kyra Bond                                                  health, isolation, deprivation and social    Increased confidence and self-esteem

E-mail:                                     exclusion                                   Increased independence and inclusion in
                                                                         Model of befriending: One to one and        community
Telephone: 0117 9166460
                                                                         group befriending support                   Increased opportunities to participate
                                                                         Geographic reach: South Gloucestershire     Improved routine

                                                                                                                     New skills and knowledge

                                                                                                                     Reduction in social isolation


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