April 08, 2021 12:14 PM

Barnet Friends



Barnet Friends is a telephone service for adults from 18 to 55 who may be experiencing isolation or loneliness. 


Barnet Friends is delivered by CommUNITY Barnet as part of the Barnet Wellbeing Service


We know that loneliness and isolation can affect anyone in life, whatever their age and whatever their family situation. It is possible to feel alone even if you have friends and family around you, sometimes it really helps to talk to someone new who can just listen and support.


Our volunteer befrienders are matched to an individual to provide companionship and emotional support and give them information on a range of activities and services that can help them increase their confidence and sociability. Each volunteer receives specific training around safeguarding and is required to complete a DBS check. 



Barnet Friends Information Sheets 


You can read and download these useful resources about Barnet Friends below...







We can support...


•          Anyone aged 18+ experiencing loneliness and isolation who works, lives or studies in Barnet

•          People with or without a mild, moderate or severe mental illness

•          People that would like support to develop positive mental wellbeing

•          Anyone ready to take active steps to work reducing their social isolation and improving their confidence


Our support will be offered for a minimum of six months and up to a maximum of 12 months.



Becoming a Volunteer

Barnet Friends has been developed to support Barnet residents suffering from loneliness and isolation. We are seeking to recruit volunteer befrienders who will carry out this role entirely remotely over the telephone. Our service is here to provide companionship for those isolated, the chance to develop a new relationship and remain socially active.


We receive referrals from social services, GPs, concerned friends and families and self-referrals from the residents themselves. Having someone to talk to and someone to listen, could really make a difference to some people right now. In some cases, it could be that the befriender is the only person they speak to that day or even that week. As a befriender, you will need to be flexible, reliable, and non-judgmental whilst providing a listening ear and support.


To find out more or to make a referral please get in touch.


We particularly encourage applications from men and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) candidates. 



About the Role:

  • The time commitment is dependent on the number of clients you are matched with, but we request a minimum commitment of two hours per week for a minimum of six months.
  • Once you have been matched with a resident, you will need to call them once a week for 30-60 minutes at a time that you both agree on. 
  • You will need to make some brief notes and a record of the calls made which includes flagging the Coordinator of any concerns or issues that come up.
  • Occasionally you might need to signpost the resident to other services that they need. You will be given guidance and support in doing so.


Skills and Qualities, We Are Looking For:

  • Good communication and listening skills.
  • Patience, empathy, and kindness
  • We don’t ask for any specific qualifications, although having experience of either working with vulnerable people or in a mental health setting is desirable.


Why Volunteer for Barnet Friends?

  • You will be provided with a volunteer induction, safeguarding training, as well as monthly group training sessions. 
  • Develop your communication skills and gain experience in working with vulnerable people. 
  • Give something back to your local community and support a worthy cause.
  • Receive monthly one to one and group supervision.
  • Gain a workplace reference for volunteers who have completed 6 months of volunteering with us.


If you are interested in this role or have further questions, please contact our Barnet Friends Coordinator, Adam:


Telephone: 020 8016 0016


Email: adam.wilson@communitybarnet.org.uk



Volunteer Testimonials


Alison Edelshain:

I started to volunteer with Barnet Friends during the first lockdown.  Some of my other volunteering work had come to a halt (eg helping with refugees and sitting in the magistrate’s court) and I strongly felt I want to help during a time of such difficulties for so many.  One of the best ways I could manage this was by making telephone calls from home. While I had read about the loneliness and isolation lockdown had brought to so many people, it wasn’t until I started the befriending telephone calls that it really hit home.  The people with whom I was in regular telephone contact had such complicated lives often with complex medical (physical and mental) and social problems. 


It will be strange to say that I really enjoy these telephone calls but I really do.  Inevitably these conversations are sometimes very difficult and I occasionally feel I can’t offer any hope or respite to the people on the other end of the line. However, these times are significantly outnumbered by times when my “Barnet friends” tell me that our telephone conversation has really cheered them up or made them laugh for the first time in a week.  Occasionally, I can provide some specific help too, such as when they complain that they cannot go out to get their groceries or medication and can’t get the supermarkets to deliver to them.  In these cases, I have been able to arrange through Community Barnet for other volunteers to do their shopping for them until such time as they have a regular supermarket delivery slot. I would strongly recommend becoming a Barnet Community friend as it takes only an hour or so per friend and can provide some real support and assistance to those in need.