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


  • 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.


  • 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:


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.


New: Service Set-up Basics Training

Befriending Network Ireland is delighted to introduce this new form of training for those who are in the process of setting-up a befriending network. In this training you’ll go through the core areas involved in setting up a service, including identifying a target group, geographic area coverage, naming your service, logo & branding, staffing structure, policies, sustainability, IT set-up, insurance and Garda vetting. It involves a full day of training in Dublin and the cost of the training is €30 per attendee. The training dates for this year are as follows:

Date and time: 30 March 2018, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Date and time: 15 June 2018, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Date and time: 24 August 2018, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Date and time: 26 October 2018, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Venue: ALONE Office, Olympic House, Pleasants Street, Dublin 8


Befriending Coordination Training

Befriending Coordination Training covers all aspects of coordinating a befriending service. This training is ideal for services starting up, as well as services that are up and running and would like a refresher or advice on certain aspects of running their service. Topics covered include befriender recruitment, boundaries, referrals, assessments, matching, supporting befriendees and befrienders, risk management and data management. It involves a full day of training in Dublin and the cost of the training is €30 per attendee. The training dates for this year are as follows:

Date and time: 6 April 2018, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Date and time: 29 June 2018, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Date and time: 14 September 2018, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Date and time: 16 November 2018, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Venue: ALONE Office, Olympic House, Pleasants Street, Dublin 8


Support and Case Management Training

This training is designed for services who are interested in setting up a service to address other needs that there service users may have outside of befriending or another core service that is already provided. The training is modelled on the Support Coordination service that ALONE provides to older people and covers areas such as brief interventions, comprehensive interventions, case management and advocacy. It involves a full day of training in Dublin and the cost is €30 per attendee. The training dates for this year are as follows:

Date and time: 27 April 2018, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Date and time: 22 June 2018, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Date and time: 30 November 2018, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Venue: ALONE Office, Olympic House, Pleasants Street, Dublin 8

 If you are interested in attending any of these training sessions please email or call ALONE on 01-6791032.


Befriending Network Ireland, ONLINE Shared Learning

As a member of the BNI, you can have access to the Online Shared Learning Platform.

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

For more information, please contact Caroline Muller at 

Research on Befriending

Loneliness is a health issue

The following four 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.

Fewer social connections can exacerbate social isolation
It has been proven that people with few social connections can experience brain changes that cause them to view human faces as more threatening, making it harder for them to bond with others. Please click on the below link to find out more.

Social isolation and health

42% increase in older people using a befriending service

Recent figures reveal that there is a 42% increase in the number of older people availing of a befriending service to reduce loneliness and isolation. To read more about this please click on the following link to the Irish Examiner article

42% increase

Befriending through watching TV

A befriending project in Belfast has set-up a system form of befriending through mutual TV watching! Such a great idea and surely an enjoyable experience for both befrienders and befriendees.

Befriending through watching tv

Mother in UK sets up befriending service for older people at Christmas
The following article from the Grimsby Telegraph describes how a Mother in the UK has set-up a befriending service for older people for Christmas due to this being one of the most difficult times of year for older people who are lonely. To read more please click on the following article.

Mother in Uk sets up befriending service