Introducing our Befriending Service

At the heart of everything we do is our core befriending service – regular home visits and phone contact to provide practical and emotional support to people experiencing social isolation and loneliness. This core service is supplemented by our additional services which are listed below.

All the befriending services which are provided by our staff and volunteers are FREE to residents of Tower Hamlets over the age of 55. If you would like to use our services or know someone who would, click here to make a referral. THFN is currently unable to see clients with a history of mental illness or addiction. If you are unsure a person is suitable for our services, give us a call, and we will be happy to discuss this with you.

Please note that since the Covid – 19 crisis we are accepting referrals for immediate telephone befriending – see our referral page for more details.

Click below to download leaflets about our services:

General Info

For Service Users

Making a Referral

For Volunteers

Health Benefits

Home Visits and Phone Support

We can arrange for a befriending advocate or volunteer to visit someone at home on a regular basis (the day and time to be agreed with the client). These visits give people social contact, companionship, and support with practical tasks.

We also offer additional phone support, particularly at times of crisis – people can call us, or we them, for help with any particular problems or worries that crop up between visits.

This core service is also the gateway to our other services, which are detailed in the sections below.

Advocacy and enabling of self advocacy

Sometimes people need support to enable them to cope with and resolve particular problems, for example, if something goes wrong with a health or care service they use. We can provide that support, helping them to understand the issues and giving them the confidence to speak up for themselves, to solve the problems and to know what to do if other problems arise.

For people who can’t do that, perhaps because of mental, physical, sensory or language difficulties, we can provide direct help, working with them, to handle their problems on their behalf.

Support accessing health and social care services

We can help people get the health and social care services they need and will support them through the processes involved – correspondence, telephone calls, meetings with care professionals. We can accompany people to appointments, e.g. to the GP or hospital, help them to understand what is being said and to communicate their needs and help them with follow up appointments, getting prescriptions etc.

We have befrienders who speak Bengali, Sylheti, Hindi and a range of other languages and who can support people with language needs.

Consultation and involvement

thumbs up 2021

The people we help determine what form that help should take: that is fundamental to everything we do. From the first meeting with them we take our cue from what they tell us about what they want and need from us. Our support is flexible: it can change as people’s needs and wishes change, and we regularly review these with them, informally on visits, and through questionnaires and surveys.

We also consult with the people we support about wider issues and services, such as health and social services, and we make sure that their views are heard by those who provide the services in the borough.

Escorted one-to-one and group outings and events

Southend Outing 2010s

We run a limited number of escorted group outings each year to venues chosen by the people who go on the trips. We provide a minibus to pick people up from their homes and a one-to-one escort if required throughout the day. We also provide one-to-one shorter trips to local parks, museums, shops, trips down memory lane, etc for those who want them. Again, people choose where they want to go.

We hold ALFIE club meetings several times a year at different venues throughout the borough. At these, people get a chance to meet each other in a social setting and enjoy different activities like shoulder massage, manicures, seated exercise and entertainment.

Through the trips and specially arranged meetings, we can help people to make new friends and re-unite old friends.

Please note there is a small charge for group outings towards the cost of the driver and minibus. Outings are only available to people receiving our befriending service.

Activities in the home

For those who do not wish, or are not able, to go out, we provide special longer home visits and provide different home activities, including reflexology/foot massage, seated exercise, crafts, reminiscence. Our Life Stories project produced a wealth of fascinating stories. See News for more on this and the booklet, “Tin Baths and Doodlebugs”, we have produced which captures some of these stories.

Information provision and signposting

We have a wide range of information about other services and organisations.

These can provide additional support or opportunities for our service users, including on financial and housing issues, benefits, educational and leisure opportunities.