Covid Update: We currently offer Telephone Befriending and some Group Befriending via Zoom. All face-to-face befriending is currently on hold.
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 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.
We currently have a few Group Befriending sessions via Zoom. For more information please contact Sandra on firstname.lastname@example.org
Interested in Volunteering?
Befriending involves a minimum commitment of 3 months from the volunteer. Currently we are looking for volunteers with an existing DBS.
VSL training and resource documents
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 email@example.com
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 Bettina@vslonline.org.uk
For more ideas see the Signposting FAQs
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!
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.