Adult Befriending Service

The Adult Befriending Service offers befriending support to people aged 60 years or over. Our aim is to keep older people in their own homes independently for longer

Please see below for full details of the different befriending options available:

1 to 1 Befriending

We offer a 1 to 1 befriending service which matches a trained volunteer befriender with an older person, aged 60 years or over (befriendee). The volunteer will visit their befriendee once a week for about an hour. They might take their befriendee out on trips, go to a café, visit the library or go shopping together. However, it might be that the befriendee just wants someone to visit and chat to them; to share memories or interests; to reignite their enthusiasm for a favourite hobby; or receive support with IT or other practical activities. Activities and support will be very much dependent on each individual’s needs and preferences.

Do you know someone that could benefit from having a befriender? Find out how to refer someone to the service by clicking on the  I want to Refer Someone to the Service link on the right.

Group Befriending

We also offer group befriending for people aged 60 or over and have 3 popular groups currently running. These groups are ideal if you are able to get out and about and would like to meet new people.

Colouring Group, Lambaness, Kirkwall           Monday 1.30-3.30pm

Evergreen Group, Eunson Kloss, Kirkwall      Tuesday 1.45-3.15pm

Games Group, Guide Hall, Kirkwall                 Thursday 1.30-3.30pm

Contact us on 01856 872897 to find out more about these groups.

Telephone Befriending

Sometimes it takes time to find a befriender for a client; this may be due to the geographical location of the befriendee or due to the lack of available befrienders. The Telephone Befriending Service can provide remote companionship over the phone in such instances.

There are two ways to apply for a telephone befriender:

Complete the Telephone Befriending Referral Form   or Complete the Referral Form for a 1 to 1 befriender and telephone befriending will be discussed as a temporary option rather than going on our waiting list.

Becoming a telephone befriender

If you would like to become a telephone befriender we would love to hear from you. Give us a call on 01856 872897  if you would like to find out more.

What skills do I need to be a telephone befriender?

  • Good telephone manner
  • Friendly disposition
  • Ability to listen, as well as talk
  • Empathy
  • Calm manner

What are the hours/time commitment?

Flexible but on average 1 hour per week

Do I need a phone?

Not necessarily. If you do not have a phone, calls can be made from our office in Kirkwall. Alternatively if you have a phone, you can make the calls from  your own home and we will reimburse the cost of the calls.

Apply now by completing our Befriender Registration Form


B.A.L.L. Groups

Currently we have 3 B.A.L.L. Groups (Be Active Long Life) in rural and island locations. The purpose of these groups is to help promote health and active ageing within local communities through gentle exercise, hosting activities with speakers and coffee and chat.

Shapinsay B.A.L.L Group – Shapinsay, Monday 10.30 am-12.30 pm.  Contact Alison Meason 01856 711733

Holm B.A.L.L. Group – Holm Community Centre, Monday 2 – 4 pm. Contact  Joan Macdonald 01856 781294 or Sheelagh Sneesby 01856 781332 for further information.

Burray B.A.L.L. Group – Burray Hall, Wednesday 2 – 4pm. Contact Lynn Cordock on 01856 731207 for further information

Intergenerational Befriending

We also run Intergenerational Befriending Groups at different locations throughout the year. The aim of these groups is to get young people engaging with people aged 60 or over. New groups will be advertised here when they become available.

I want to Refer Someone to the Service

Do you know someone that could benefit from having a befriender?
Find out how to refer to the service…

I want to Volunteer as a Befriender

Interested? All your questions answered here…

Case Study

Gary is one of our Befrienders living in a very remote location…

Contact Us

Members of Staff

Alison Guthrie, Co-ordinator, has overall responsibility for the service: supports the team on the day to day operation of the service; undertakes development work for the scheme; and secures on-going funding.

Kasia Gorzkowska, Development Worker, main focus 1 to 1 matches and Intergenerational Befriending.

Lynn Taylor, Development Worker, main focus 1 to 1 matches and Group Befriending.

Susan Wishart, Development Worker, has responsibility for setting up and supporting BALL Groups.

Telephone number 01856 872897


Adult Befriending Service

Voluntary Action Orkney

6 Bridge Street



KW15 1HR

  • VAO Newsletter

    Have a read of our latest newsletter, look through our archive or sign up to receive it in your inbox.


  • Orkney Community Directory

    View our comprehensive list of community and voluntary groups in Orkney along with other organisations and services that may be of interest to you.


VAO Newsletter

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.