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
- Person-centred approach
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: email@example.com
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. This training is ideal for befriending services just starting up, as well as those that are up and running and would like a refresher course or advice on certain aspects of managing their service.
The cost of this training is €30 per person attending and is held in Dublin.
The date for upcoming Coordinator Training:
- 23 of February 2018, 10.30am to 4.30pm in the ALONE office
If you are interested in attending this training please email firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com
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.
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
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.
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.