MERCER REPORT Understanding Befriending: a study of befriending schemes for older people

Befriending is a service for the purposes of companionship, typically based on regular one-to-one contact between a volunteer and an individual with limited social connections. During the Covid-19 pandemic this form of support has become more widespread, so it is timely to consider how befriending works, and what we can learn from experienced providers. This report shares the insights and lessons from thirteen established befriending schemes for older people, run by organisations funded by charities for which the Mercers’ Company is trustee. Report authors: Kate Jopling and Dan Jones