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

Befriending Network Ireland (BNI) is a national network of befriending services for adults, hosted by ALONE, which ensures that everyone in Ireland has access to a quality-assured befriending service, regardless of location or service provider.

BNI was established by a number of befriending organisations in Ireland in 2015. The network was set up to increase collaboration amongst befriending services and to enable the sharing of information and resources. Today, more than 60 befriending organisations from across Ireland are members of BNI.

BNI provides support and guidance to new and already-established befriending services in various ways:

  • Coordinator Training covering the setting-up and management of a befriending service
  • Core Volunteer Befriending Training for services who would like their volunteers trained.
  • Peer-to-peer shared learning opportunities in person and online to ensure rural access.
  • Support and Case Management training
  • Service Set-up Basics training.

Our future plans include further training and shared learning opportunities for befriending services in Ireland. BNI also holds an annual national seminar highlighting areas of interest and relevance to the befriending sector.

 Vision, Mission and Values

Vision

  • A society where adults experiencing loneliness and social isolation are supported by quality befriending services in Ireland to improve quality of life, health and well-being.

Mission

  • To promote the work of befriending and support befriending groups in providing quality services to adults to alleviate social isolation and loneliness.

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:

  • To provide a support network for Befriending Groups in Ireland and promote information exchange and shared learning.
  • To support and promote best practice training, resources and quality assurance tools.
  • To collect evidence-based data on the value and impact of befriending services on health and well-being. To promote research to highlight the link between isolation, loneliness and health and well-being.
  • To campaign to alleviate isolation and loneliness and provide a national voice to represent, campaign and advocate on behalf of the befriending sector in Ireland.
  • To ensure the future sustainability of Befriending Network Ireland and ensure that it is managed in a professional, transparent and effective manner.

Training

We provide resources and training to new and well established befriending and support services. Training options are available to both the staff of services and their volunteers.

Please see our upcoming training below.

*If you would like to attend any of the training sessions listed, please email Caroline Muller on caroline.muller@alone.ie

*Some training sessions may need to be cancelled at short notice depending on numbers attending. We will endeavour to give you as much notice as possible of any cancellations.

Befriending Network Ireland Volunteer Training

Volunteer Core Training consists of two modules that are approximately two and a half hours in length. This is ideal an ideal form of support for services who have completed Service Set-Up Basics and Befriending Coordination Training and would like support with their befriender training as the final stage of service set-up. In this training all of the essential areas to support a volunteer in advance of their role as a befriender:

  • What befriending is and the befriending role
  • Boundaries
  • Communication Skills
  • Confidentiality
  • Health and Safety
  • Support Network
  • Change of Circumstances
  • Matching Steps

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. Training quotations are provided to each service based on travel, training preparation and delivery and any additional expenses that may be incurred.

If you are interested in availing of training for your befrienders please email Caroline Muller at caroline.muller@alone.ie or call ALONE on 01-6791032

Learn How to Train your Befrienders: A Train the Trainer Course

This training course is designed specifically for services who are looking to design and deliver their own core befriender training to their befrienders.  This training takes the stress out of knowing what to train your befrienders on and how to create a comprehensive training course to best prepare your befrienders in their roles. After attending this training, you will:

  • Be able to identify topics need to be covered in core befriender training
  • List and discuss what training methods are most suitable for befriender training
  • Know how to structure a training session for befriender training
  • Be able to explain learning styles and how to cater to all learning styles in befriender training
  • Know assessment and evaluation techniques suitable for befriender training
  • Be able to manage diversity in befriender training
  • Be able to identify training materials useful for befriender training
  • Know methods to refresh befrienders in befriender training over the longer term

This is a full day of training in Dublin and the cost is €50 per attendee. The training dates for this year are as follows:

Training Date One

Date: 19th of April 2019, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Venue: Carmelite Community Centre, 56 Aungier St, Dublin 2

Training Date Two

Date: 6th of September, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Venue: Carmelite Community Centre, 56 Aungier St, Dublin 2

Training Date Three

Date: 12th of December, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Venue: Carmelite Community Centre, 56 Aungier St, Dublin 2

If you are interested in attending any of these training sessions email Caroline Muller at caroline.muller@alone.ie or call ALONE on 01-6791032.

New: Service Set-up Basics Training 

This training for those is specifically designed for those who are in the process of, or interested in, setting up a befriending service in Ireland. It covers all of the areas that you will need to consider and work on before your befriending service gets up and running. After attending this training, you will:

  • Know what you need to consider before setting-up a service
  • Be able to identify what kind of befriending and related services operate in Ireland
  • Know what costs are involved in running a befriending service
  • Understand sustainability and ways you can fund your service
  • Be able to identify ways to create a brand for your service
  • List the key policies and paperwork needed for your service
  • Know the recommended staffing structure of a befriending service
  • Be able to identify the key legal requirements needed for your service
  • Have an understanding of a basic office and IT set-up for your service

This is a full day of training in Dublin and the cost of the training is €50 per attendee. The training dates for this year are as follows:

Training Date One

Date: 2nd of April 2019, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Venue: The Guinness Enterprise Centre, Taylor’s Lane, Dublin 8

Training Date Two

Date: 16th of August 2019, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Venue: Carmelite Community Centre, 56 Aungier St, Dublin 2

Training Date Three

Date: 22nd of November, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Venue: Carmelite Community Centre, 56 Aungier St, Dublin 2

If you are interested in attending any of these training sessions, please email Caroline Muller at caroline.muller@alone.ie or call ALONE on 01-6791032.

Befriending Coordination Training

Befriending Coordination Training covers all aspects of coordinating a befriending service. This training is an ideal follow on from Service Set up training for services who are just starting up. This training is also suitable for established services that would like a refresher or advice on Befriending Coordination. After attending this training, you will:

  • Know methods and steps to source and recruit befrienders
  • Be able to list referral sources and ways to generate referrals to your service
  • Know methods to successfully assess a befriendee for your service
  • Understand matching and how to go about setting up befriending matches
  • Know how to support befriendees and befrienders in befriending relationships
  • Be able to list ways to manage risk and to safeguard befriendees and befrienders
  • Know typical ways to store service information and data

This is a full day of training in Dublin and the cost of the training is €50 per attendee. The training dates for this year are as follows:

Training Date One

Date: 12th of April 2019, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Venue: Carmelite Community Centre, 56 Aungier St, Dublin 2

Training Date Two

Date: 23nd of August, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Venue: Carmelite Community Centre, 56 Aungier St, Dublin 2

Training Date Three

Date: 28th of November, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Venue: Carmelite Community Centre, 56 Aungier St, Dublin 2

If you are interested in attending any of these training sessions, please email Caroline Muller at caroline.muller@alone.ie or call ALONE on 01-6791032.

Support and Case Management Training

This training provides a framework for Support and Case Management. This training is ideal for organisations who work with older people or with individuals with additional support needs. This training is modelled on the Support Coordination service that ALONE provides to older people both in housing and in the community. After attending this training, you will:

  • Know techniques to identify the issue(s) a person presents with
  • Have an understanding of the different support work levels
  • Understand comprehensive assessments and techniques
  • Know what steps to take post assessment
  • Understand the case noting system and know how to write case notes
  • Gain an understanding of Support Plan Objectives
  • Know ways to advocate for a person you are supporting
  • Gain and understanding of gaps and blocks in support and case management

This is a full day of training in Dublin and the cost is €50 per attendee. The training dates for this year are as follows:

Training Date One

Date: 10th of May 2019, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Venue: Carmelite Community Centre, 56 Aungier St, Dublin 2

Training Date Two

Date: 26th of September, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Venue: Carmelite Community Centre, 56 Aungier St, Dublin 2

 If you are interested in attending any of these training sessions please email Caroline Muller at caroline.muller@alone.ie 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 caroline.muller@alone.ie 

 

Regional Support & Networking Meetings

One of the most important forms of supports that member services avail of from Befriending Network Ireland (BNI) is the ability to attend Regional Support & Networking Meetings held across the country. Regional Support & Networking Meetings provide member services of BNI with opportunities to:

 

  • Network with other services in their locality and nationally.
  • Obtain peer to peer support on issues or challenges in running a befriending service.
  • Discuss specific topics affecting befriending services nationally such as funding and volunteer management.

The meetings are informal in style and some meetings will have combined workshops.

Regional Support & Networking Meetings are divided by Community Healthcare Organisation (CHO) throughout the country. However, you and your colleagues are not limited to only being able to attend a meeting in your own CHO area. If there is a meeting in another CHO area that you would like attend that is perfectly fine.

To see the first meeting dates for 2019 please refer to the calendar below.

To request attendance to one of these meetings please email Caroline Muller Wallace on caroline.muller@alone.ie referencing which meeting you would like to attend.

We really hope to see you at one of the Regional Support & Networking Meetings this year!

 

Calendar of First Meetings for 2019

 CHO 1 Meeting 1: Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan, Sligo

6th of March 2019, 10.30am to 12.30pm

Venue: Sligo Social Services Council CLG, Charles Street, Co. Sligo

CHO 2 Meeting 1: Galway, Mayo, Roscommon

28th of March 2019, 10.30am to 12.30pm

Venue: Amicitia, Old Church Street, Athenry, Co. Galway

CHO 3 Meeting 1: Clare, Limerick, North Tipperary

4th of April 2019, 11am to 1pm

Venue: Ballyhoura Rural Services, 4 High Street, Caherconlish, Co. Limerick

CHO 4 Meeting 1: Cork and Kerry

9th of April 2019, 11am to 1pm

Venue: Cork City Partnership, 46A Sprigg’s Road, Gurranebraher, Cork

 CHO 5 Meeting 1: Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford, and Wexford

16th of April 2019, 11am to 1pm

Venue: ALONE Kilkenny, St Canice’s Neighbourhood Hall, Butts Green, Co. Kilkenny

CHO 6, 7 Meeting 1: Dublin South, Dublin West, Kildare, Wicklow

Workshop on Volunteers and Regional Meeting

23rd of April 2019, 10am to 1pm

Venue: Guinness Enterprise Centre, Taylor’s Lane, Ushers, Dublin 8

CHO 8 Meeting 1: Laois, Longford, Louth, Meath, Offaly and Westmeath

2nd of May 2019, 11am to 1pm

Venue: HSE Primary Care Centre, Summerhill, Co. Meath

CHO 9 Meeting 1: Dublin North, Dublin North Central and Dublin North West

8th of May, 10.30am to 12.30pm

Venue: 1 Brookwood Avenue, ALONE Walk, Dublin 5

 

 

Research on Befriending

Loneliness is a health issue.

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.

Fewer social connections can exacerbate social isolation
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.

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