Covid Update: We currently offer Telephone Befriending, some face to face Befriending and Group Befriending

The VSL befriending scheme covers Lewisham Borough and matches volunteers with service users based on shared interests and the individual’s needs.

Service users are usually referred to us by social services, health services or other professional bodies, but families can also contact us direct if they want to arrange befriending calls.

Our service users are from all walks of life and may face a wide range of issues. For example, a volunteer may befriend an elderly man who has been bereaved, a younger woman who is housebound through disability, or anyone who is isolated by low self-esteem or with few friends or family and would benefit from a friendly chat.


Telephone Befriending

Telephone befriending is aimed at service users who prefer a call over a visit. This is currently the main befriending service we offer. Calls can range from 5-40 minutes. Phone befriending volunteers place calls from their own phones, using a caller withheld function. Volunteers usually start with 1-2 befriendees they call once a week.

Group Befriending

We currently run a face to face Group Befriending session on Friday afternoons at Creekside Discovery Centre and Zoom session on Tuesday afternoons. For more information please contact Sandra on


Interested in Volunteering?

Befriending involves a minimum commitment of 3 months from the volunteer. Currently we are looking for volunteers with an existing DBS.

If you would like to find out more see the Telephone Befriending Task Description or email



Already Volunteering?

VSL training and resource documents

Befriending Training
Phone Befriending Questions & Topics
Signposting FAQs
Read the latest Befriending News for Volunteers

Upcoming training opportunities

Befriending Briefings via Zoom. An overview of telephone befriending, what to expect and get the opportunity to meet other volunteers and ask questions. Next Date: TBC. To register email
COVID-19: Psychological First Aid. Free online training from Public Health England.
Zero Suicide Alliance. Choose either the shorter or longer version of this free online training module.

Top Signposting Picks

Nominate your befriendee to have a song played live, at a safe distance from their doorstep, by local Lewisham musicians. Whether it’s their birthday, a special anniversary, or just for fun! Make a referral to Give-A-Song.

Home Library Service
Let your befriendee know that they can get library books to their door through Lewisham Libraries home delivery service.

Tech Support from Soulchip
Your befriendee can get one-to-one phone support with using their digital devices, registering with their GP online or using Zoom. To refer your befriendee email

For more ideas see the Signposting FAQs


Project News


Befriendee Survey Report Published

We’ve been surveying our service users on an ongoing basis since last summer. One year into the project, read the results, feedback and recommendations by downloading the VSL Befriendee Survey Report.

Artists on the Phone @ Deptford X

Check out the results of VSL’s Phone befriending collaboration with Deptford X as part of their 2020 online festival. Six Lewisham based artists were matched with befriendees from the project and the results are inspiring!

Befriending Gnomes

In partnership with Entelechy Arts, our group and phone befriending service users took part in a creative project painting gnomes that were delivered to their houses.