Case Study: Time to Talk Befriending

Fri 3 Nov 2023

A member of Befriending Networks, Time to Talk aims to tackle loneliness by recruiting volunteer befrienders to talk to people who otherwise might not see anyone other than their carers for weeks at a time. Run by Voluntary Support North Surrey, Time to Talk supports people of any age. Their volunteers receive training and support and are matched with people with similar interests.

Fish, chips, and friendship

James works for a consulting company, which gives him paid time off to be a Time to Talk Befriender through their Volunteering Pilot Scheme. They have also donated towards events and training for Time for Talk volunteers. He began his befriending journey in 2020.

'I was first matched with a chap called Tim in 2020 at the start of the pandemic. He was shielding, so initially we chatted over the phone, but this soon developed into weekly chats in his garden. This carried on for over two years until Tim passed at the end of 2022.'
'In 2023 I was matched with another fellow called Ben. Ben lives further away, and visits tend to be longer, so I visit once every two weeks.'
'Ben grew up on the coast but recently mentioned to me that he hadn’t seen the sea for at least five years. So, with fine weather forecast, I used my SLR community volunteering hours to take Ben to the beach for fish and chips, coffee, and the dipping of toes into a surprisingly warm English Channel.' 

Celebrating befrienders

Like all befriender volunteers, James’ support is invaluable to those he works with, and his hard work has been recognised.

'James has been and still is a valued part of our Volunteer Befriending Service and, because of his dedication to Time to Talk, was nominated last year for one of the Volunteer Befriending Awards', says Karen from Time to Talk. 

Making a difference

James has seen the benefits that befriending can bring to someone’s life, making them feel connected and part of the community. He recognises the value of befriending organisations like Time to Talk.

'There are schemes like Time to Talk around the UK, and they make a real difference to people'.

Karen hopes that more people like James will step forward to volunteer their time to brighten someone’s day. 

'Volunteers are like gold dust, and James is definitely one Volunteer to be treasured and we appreciate all he does for his current Befriendee Ben', says Karen. 

'This goes to ALL our volunteers at Time to Talk. In fact, to volunteers throughout the country, who by giving their time to others, help alleviate loneliness. It couldn’t be done without you. A big thank you to you all.'

If you would like to become a volunteer befriender with Time to Talk, or you feel you would benefit from the support of a befriendee, please visit Time to Talk’s page on the Befriending Networks Directory.