Case Study: HELP Ripon & Rural

Thu 2 Nov 2023

When Danny moved to Ripon, he decided he wanted to have more of a connection with his local community.  
He got in touch with Befriending Networks member HELP Ripon & Rural and signed up as a befriender on their Harrogate Easier Living Project. The programme offers over-65s living in and around Ripon regular social visits from volunteer befrienders, providing them with someone to talk to and a friendly listening ear.

'It was about being part of the wider community and doing something outside of my day-to-day job,' says Danny. 

A perfect match

He was paired with Janet, 62 years his senior, who lives alone, has no family close by and is gradually losing her sight.

Both local to Ripon, Danny and Janet share a background in the military, and formed a quick bond around it. Janet grew up the daughter of an army officer and worked as a Training Estate Manager for 12 years at the very barracks where Danny is now based as a full-time Corporal Reconnaissance Crew Commander.

Chat is something that Janet and Danny are never short of, often commenting on how they never run out of things to talk about.

'We typically see each other one to two times a week when I’m not away with work,' says Danny. 'If I’m away for an extended amount of time I usually just call if and when I can. We go out for a coffee, go to the garden centre, I help out in the garden, we sit and chat, or go out for a walk. We live less than five minutes from each other so it’s really easy to give Janet a call or pop in to see her whenever we have some spare time.'

Befriending benefits

Janet says meeting Danny has provided 'a breath of fresh air – I know it sounds cliché to say but we just click.'

'Danny adds a whole new dimension to my life, it’s a fresh perspective and something new. It provides a link between the generations which is so important for your mental health. Plus, it’s really handy to have someone young and able around to help do any jobs that I can’t do on my own.'

'I just know that the day will be a good day because I’m seeing Danny. The more elderly people that can have a befriender, the better they will be.'

The feeling is mutual. Danny really enjoys his role as a volunteer befriender, and the close friendship that he has with Janet: 'I just get a good feeling knowing that I can come and see Janet. I 100% benefit from this as well. There is so much to get out of being a befriender.'

Get involved

If you’d like to volunteer as a befriender with HELP Ripon & Rural, or if you are interested in being matched with a befriender, please contact Katie Lee or Lizzie Hughes at Harrogate Easier Living Project (HELP) on 01423 813090 or 07944 972393, or email