Here at Opening Doors London we’re piloting a new telephone befriending service designed for LGBT+ people aged over 50. Our face-to-face befriending service is always in high demand so we're branching out into this new service to give more of our members the opportunity to benefit from a befriending relationship. We hope this new telephone befriending scheme will also reach our more isolated members, for example those who are isolated due to their geographical location, where our standard scheme is unable to operate.

This new service will be launching in December 2019 and we’re currently taking referrals for those who would like to be part of this exciting pilot project, so if you’re interested please get in touch.

What is Telefriending?

Telefriending is a free telephone befriending service where one of our lovely volunteers will call you around the same time each week for a chat of up to 30-minutes. The person who calls you each week will always be the same telefriending volunteer.

We know that not talking to someone regularly can be difficult and sometimes can increase feelings of loneliness; our telefriending service is here so you can regularly chat to someone familiar. We’ll match you with someone like-minded where you share similar interests and are more likely to have things in common.

Our volunteers are not paid and don’t have the same responsibilities such as a social worker, carer or doctor. Telefrienders are committed and caring community members who give their time and attention to people like you as part of our befriending service.

If you want to find out more about telefriending please email [email protected] to recieve our Telefriending Client Handbook.

Who is Telefriending for?

Telefriending is suitable for people who are:

  • Over 50 and identify as LGBT+
  • feel lonely and isolated
  • have their own landline or mobile phone
  • able to hear and be understood over the phone
  • able to commit to a regular weekly call at the same time.

Unfortunately we are unable to accept people who:

  • have dementia or memory loss
  • have a severe mental health condition that requires a high level of support.

Sometimes people have support needs that are not suitable for this scheme, perhaps because they are too complex, or the needs are not linked to being lonely and isolated. If you’re not sure telefriending is for you, just give us a ring – the Befriending Coordinator is happy to talk things through with you.

How do I get a telephone befriender?

As this is a pilot, we have limited spaces for telefriending and we are unable to operate a waiting list for the pilot.

We are, however, currently taking referrals so if you want to have a telephone 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. We'll then arrange an assessment call to confirm that you (or the person being referred) is suitable for the service.

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.

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