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


  • 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.


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


  • 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.

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: 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: 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: 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 


Regional Support & Networking Meetings

One of the key supports that services requested from BNI in a survey that took place at the start of this year was the running of regional peer to peer support meetings. In response to this, we have scheduled the first Regional Support & Networking Meetings for BNI members only.

These meetings are for befriending services to get together to seek and give advice on issues relating to running a befriending service, or other topics relevant to befriending. These meetings also provide a fantastic opportunity for services to network with other befriending services local to them.

Regional Support & Networking Meetings are divided by Community Healthcare Organisation (CHO) throughout the country. However, you 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 what meetings are running this year please refer to the Regional Support & Networking Meetings 2018 schedule below.

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

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

Regional Support & Networking Meetings – Schedule 2018 :

CHO 1 Regional Support & Networking Meeting (Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan)
Date & Time:
21 March, 2pm to 4.30pm
Venue: Sligo Social Services Council CLG, Charles Street, Co. Sligo

CHO 2 Regional Support & Networking Meeting (Mayo, Roscommon, Galway)
Date & Time: 19 April, 2pm to 4.30pm Venue: Amicitia, Old Church Street, Athenry, Co. Galway

CHO 3 Regional Support & Networking Meeting (Clare, Limerick, Tipperary)
Date & Time:
4 May 2018, 1pm to 3.30pm
Venue: Ballyhoura Rural Services, 4 High Street, Caherconlish, Co. Limerick

CHO 4 Regional Support & Networking Meeting (Kerry, Cork)
Date & Time: 2 August 2018, 10.30am to 1pm
Venue: Respond Housing Association, St Francis Garden’s, Thomas Davis Street, Blackpool, Cork City, Co. Cork

CHO 5 Regional Support & Networking Meeting (Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford, Wexford)
Date & Time: 16 August 2018, 10.30am to 1pm
Venue: John’s College, The Folly, Waterford City, Co. Waterford

CHO 6, 7, 9 Regional Support & Networking Meeting (Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow)
Date & Time: 20 September 2018, 10.30am to 1pm
Venue: ALONE Office, Olympic House, Pleasants Street, Dublin 8

CHO 8 Regional Support & Networking Meeting (Laois, Offaly, Longford, Westmeath, Louth, Meath)
Date & Time: 11 October 2018, 10.30am to 1pm
HSE Primary Care Centre, Summerhill, Co. Meath


BNI Seminar

Every year we run the Befriending Network Ireland Seminar 2018 for staff and volunteers from befriending services, which took place on May 24th this year.

The theme for this year’s seminar was ‘Building Stronger Communities’.

This year we had an exciting schedule of speakers including Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development, Seán Kyne, and Professor Brian Lawlor (Trinity College Dublin).


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