We link people who’d like to enjoy friendship in their local community after experiencing homelessness, with Volunteers who can offer non-judgemental company, a listening ear, and kindness.

Befriending is part of Routes to Roots, a Turning Tides service offering opportunities for people who have experienced homelessness to re-build social confidence and participate in their local community.

Social connections and a feeling of belonging, are all important to our mental wellbeing, and we’re looking for local Volunteers who’d like to support people to develop those connections together.




If you are considering becoming a befriender with Turning Tides you will find helpful resources on this page to guide your decision. If you have any further enquiries please get in contact with the Befriending Team.

We welcome you to join our friendly team of Befriending Volunteers!



Contact Us

Phone: 01903 680740 Ext: 143/ 343
Mobile: 07874 863711

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Role description
Meet a Befriender
Befriending Poster
Client Story

What people say about befriending

“The service continues to be an amazing thing. I feel honoured that I can count Sue as a friend. It is indeed a blessing.”

“Befriending gives me a feeling of self-worth, support, belonging. Knowing someone cares is an amazing feeling. I now have more confidence and hope as I tackle my social anxiety. This has helped me so much and I am truly grateful.”

“Nice to make a new friend. Gets me out of the house. We have a coffee and chat – it’s been lovely.”




Impact research on the benefits of Befriending at Turning Tides

All of the survey respondents praised their experience with the befriending service and expressed gratitude that they had been involved. Respondents valued the fact that befriending had given them someone to talk to on a regular basis, as well as a reason to get out of the house and providing some structure to the week. Common activities included going out for coffee with their befriender and going for a walk, along with other activities relating to befriendees’ interests, such as gardening. One respondent mentioned that they and their befriender had been  in contact almost exclusively over the phone but mentioned that this type of contact suited them well.

Questions and Answers

What does Befriending involve?
  • Completing relevant training to support you in your role
  • Completing a DBS
  • Being matched with a Friend
  • Having a first supervised meeting
  • Meeting and talking with your Friend regularly
  • Activities may include going for a walk or for tea/coffee
  • Having a friendly, non-judgemental attitude
  • Put in the effort to make the friendship work
  • Be a person your Friend can rely on to turn up at the promised time
  • Updating Volunteero (a Befriending app we use at Turning Tides and for which we provide training) as and when required
  • All Befrienders are Volunteers who follow Turning Tides’ policies including confidentiality and boundaries
  • Bi-monthly group supervisions to support you in your Volunteer role
  • We ask for a minimum of 6 months commitment.
Who do the befrienders support?
  • Befriending is for people who have experienced homelessness, and are looking to connect with the community
  • People in our services looking for new supportive friendships
  • People in our services looking to try new things
  • People in our services looking to get out and about and have someone to do this with
  • Someone in our services who may be experiencing loneliness and isolation.
Are there different types of Befriending?

Yes, we can offer face to face befriending or telephone befriending. Some people prefer to have a befriender to chat to on the phone rather than in person. Some people prefer to begin the befriending match with conversations on the phone and then move to meeting in person.

How do I become a Befriender?
  • You can either complete the online form, call the befriending team on: 07874 863711 or email:
  • Complete the Befriending Volunteer form and include the names and contact for two referees
  • Attend our Befriending Volunteer Induction (currently online)
  • Complete our online Befriending Volunteer training, at a time that suits you, to support you in your role
  • Apply for a DBS check.
How long does it take to become a Befriender?
  • Usually 3-4 weeks depending on how quickly you complete your training
  • Matching you with somebody in our services isn’t always immediate – it’s extremely important to us that we get our matches right! We want to ensure that the friendships are authentic and lasting
  • If a match doesn’t work for either friend, and sometimes this is the case, we will look for another friendship match.
I work full time, can I still be a Befriender?

Yes! Befriending is very flexible. We would find a time that works for you. Befriending isn’t just 9-5 Monday to Friday – it can include evening and weekends.

Is there anything else I need to know?
  • Befrienders are not there to advise or offer professional help. Befrienders are there to be a listening ear, to be encouraging and most importantly to be reliable and committed.
  • Support is available for Befrienders, firstly through training, but also support for any questions about the friendship or advice on how to proceed.
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