Opening Doors London runs a Befriending Service for LGBT+ people aged 50 and over who are feeling isolated.

During this period of lockdown due to Covid-19, all face-to-face ODL services are currently suspended. Anyone in need of befriending is instead being offered our telephone befriending service - telefriending. Referrals to this service remain the same as for befriending - see details below.

Why Befriending?

Living in London can become a lonely experience as you grow older, especially if you can’t get out and about as you used to. Having someone to spend time with and talk to can make all the difference.

The Befriending Service aims to reduce the stress of loneliness and isolation, increase peoples' confidence, and enable members to maintain their independence. It is also a great way to spend time with someone else who identifies as LGBT+.

"I’ve been housebound for 3 years. I’ve not had any companionship at all. Max my befriender came into my life [and] changed my life for the better... very much for the better" - David, 86

What is Befriending?

Befriending matches you with a volunteer Befriender for regular social contact, with visits every week or fortnight. Your Befriender and you might:

  • go along to social groups and community activities
  • go to exhibitions or events
  • have a cup of tea and a chat in your home.

The Opening Doors London Befriending Service operates in every London borough.

Who is Befriending for?

  • For those who are LGBT+, over 50 and are isolated or housebound
  • Live in any London Borough
  • Have a limited social network and would like to re/connect with the LGBT+ community
  • Live in a care home and would like an LGBT+ friendly visitor

This service will prioritise those who are isolated due to frailty or physical impairments and have no regular meaningful social connections. 

We are particularly interested in supporting those who are from underrepresented groups.

What won't a Befriender do?

While having a Befriender can be wonderful and help improve your life both emotionally and physically, it is important to note all Befrienders are volunteers. This means they are not like a social worker or key worker.

Befrienders also won’t be able to help you clean the house or do jobs for you, but they will provide you with company.

How do get a befriender for myself?

If you want to have a befriender please fill in our self-referral form, or if you want to refer someone you think could benefit from being befriended, please fill in our external referral form and send to [email protected] or post it to our offices.

If you have any questions email us or call on 020 7239 0400 and ask for the ODL Befriending Team.

Interested in becoming a Volunteer Befriender?

Check out our Volunteer Befriending page or get in touch with the Befriending Team. 

“I initially got involved to give something back to the older LGBT+ community, as I am very much aware that without their struggle I would not have the free life I live today as an out gay man. I never realised how much I myself would get from befriending, it has been a wonderful experience" – Volunteer Befriender