West Berkshire Council is pleased to announce that a contract to deliver Befriending and Buddy support has been awarded to Age UK Berkshire.

The scheme, which aims to prevent and reduce social isolation and loneliness in West Berkshire will provide social and emotional support to residents aged 50 and over from a volunteer befriender or buddy.

Due to COVID-19 the scheme is currently running as a telephone befriending service and face to face befriending and buddying will be introduced when it is safe to do so and in line with government guidance.

Fiona Price, CEO, Age UK Berkshire said: “Many older people feel distanced from family and friends leading to feelings of loneliness.  Having the support of a volunteer befriender or buddy to have a chat with or to go for a trip to the local coffee shop can make a real difference.

“We’re proud to be delivering this friendship and companionship in West Berkshire and of the real difference it makes to both older people and to our volunteers who benefit personally from helping others.”

Howard Woollaston, West Berkshire’s Executive Member for Public Health & Community Wellbeing said: “I’m very pleased to launch this new Befriending and Buddying Service in conjunction with Age UK Berkshire at this particularly difficult time.

“Social isolation is a widespread issue with negative effects, particularly among our older generations and Covid-19 has exacerbated this.

“We are delighted to be enabling this partnership which help and make a difference to the lives of many of our vulnerable residents.”

 The Age UK Berkshire Befriending & Buddying scheme is now open for referrals. Enquiries should be made directly to Age UK Berkshire by emailing info@ageukberkshire.org.uk or calling 0118 959 4242.

Could you be a Befriender or Buddy?

 Age UK Berkshire are grateful for the fantastic volunteer response to Coronavirus across West Berkshire and invite anyone who would like to know more about an ongoing volunteering commitment as a Befriender or Buddy to make contact for an initial discussion by emailing  info@ageukberkshire.org.uk  or calling 0118 959 4242.


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