Befriending Network Ireland

Please click on the map below to find the nearest Befriending Service for older people in your area. These organisations are part of Befriending Network Ireland, and are independent of ALONE.

Select a location on the map to view further contact information.

About Befriending Network Ireland

After successfully running a Befriending Service in Dublin for almost four decades, ALONE has recently taken the lead on establishing Befriending Network Ireland, a national network of befriending services for vulnerable and older people.

Over the years we received many calls from older people across the country looking for befriending services in their area, as well as calls from other organisations seeking advice and support.  In response to this we took on two projects at the beginning of 2013.  In the first project we mapped all the befriending services for older people throughout Ireland and published the Befriending Services: National Survey and Directory 2014. The second project was a guidebook containing information on setting up or running a befriending service, The Befriending Service Coordination Guidebook.  This guidebook was based on the knowledge and experience we had gathered through 37 years of running the Befriending Service.

ALONE also recognised the need for a national voice for befriending, training and quality standards and transparency across all services. This inspired ALONE to commence and lead the development of a national befriending network to link all the independent befriending services that are currently running throughout the country.

In November 2014, ALONE facilitated a meeting with representatives from various organisations to explore the idea of creating a national befriending network. In 2015 ALONE facilitated two more meetings which resulted in the formation of Befriending Network Ireland and the Befriending Network Ireland Advisory Group with representatives from the independent befriending organisations across Ireland.

 Vision, Mission and Values

Vision

  • Befriending Network Ireland visions a society where vulnerable people in Ireland experiencing loneliness and social isolation have access to quality befriending services to improve their health and well-being.

The Networks Mission:

  • To develop a national network of befriending services in Ireland that promotes the work of befriending and supports its member groups in providing quality services to older and vulnerable people to alleviate social isolation.

Values

  • Equality of service
  • Transparency
  • Person-centred approach
  • Innovation
  • Inclusion
  • Collaborative
  • Professional

Goals and Strategic Plan

The Befriending Network Ireland strategic plan for the next 2 to 3 years is based on the five goals of the network:

Network for information sharing: To provide a network for befriending groups in Ireland and promote information exchange and shared learning.

  • Training and quality assurance: To support and promote best practice training, resources and quality assurance tools
  • Research and evidence-based data: To collect evidence-based data on the value and impact of befriending services on health and well-being and promote research to highlight the link between social isolation with health and well-being
  • National campaigning voice: To campaign to end social isolation and loneliness and provide a national voice to represent, advocate and campaign on behalf of the befriending sector in Ireland and their work to end loneliness
  • Sustainable organisation: To plan for the future sustainability of the Befriending Network Ireland and ensure that it is managed in a professional, transparent and effective manner

Support the Network provides

ALONE provides training to Volunteers and Coordinators through the network.

For more information on the training listed below, please contact the Befriending Network Coordinator Caroline at the ALONE Offices on: Phone: 01- 679 1032 / 087-6135090 or Email: caroline.m@alone.ie.

 

Befriending Network Ireland Volunteer Training

Volunteer Core Training consists of two modules that are approximately two and a half hours in length. In this training all of the essential areas of befriending an older person are covered including health and safety, boundaries, active listening and the do’s and don’ts of befriending.

Training dates and venues are arranged between the Coordinator of Befriending Network Ireland and the Befriending Service that would like to receive training for their volunteers.

Befriending Network Ireland Coordinator Training

Coordinator training involves one full day of training and covers all aspects of setting-up and managing a befriending service. The cost of this training is €30 per person attending and is held in Dublin. Those who have completed this one-day training can also participate in further Action Learning Coordinator Training morning.

If you are interested in attending this training please email enquiries@alone.ie or call ALONE on 01-6791032.

Befriending Network Ireland Shared Learning Mornings

Shared Learning Mornings create a space for befriending coordinators to get support on key issues relating to coordinating a service.  Each attendee brings forward issues in advance of the meeting that they would like discuss and obtain advice and support on.

The date for upcoming Shared Learning Morning  are as follows:

 

  • 4th of August 2016, 10.30am to 1pm

 

If you are interested in attending this training please email enquiries@alone.ie or call ALONE on 01-6791032.

*Please not that due to the popularity of Shared Learning Mornings spaces are limited.

Research on Befriending

Loneliness is a health issue

The following three pieces of research highlight the importance of befriending as a health intervention.  Such research brings to light how befriending can not only make such a positive impact on the befriended person’s health, but as a result, could alleviate pressure on national health services.

The following article by Befriending Works in the UK discusses the importance of befriending as a health intervention:

http://www.thinklocalactpersonal.org.uk/_library/Resources/BCC/Befriending_Works.pdf

This article written by the Guardian in the UK again demonstrates how loneliness can affect a person’s health and place pressure on health services as a result:

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/feb/01/loneliness-forces-older-people-into-hospitals-and-strains-services-say-senior-doctors

This very recent article written by the Irish Independent discusses how loneliness can increase a person’s chances of having a stroke:

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/loneliness-makes-you-more-likely-to-have-a-stroke-34642843.html

The following report is from the Campaign to End Loneliness and examines how to identify loneliness in communities:
http://www.campaigntoendloneliness.org/wp-content/uploads/The-Missing-Million-report-FINAL-1.pdf

This article from The Sunday Post talks about how a befriending service can help to reduce loneliness:

https://www.sundaypost.com/in10/chat/forget-me-not-befriending-service-reduces-loneliness/