Royal Trinity Hospice is calling on people in central and southwest London to volunteer a couple of hours a week to support isolated people living near them following a rise in demand for support.

A recent report found almost one fifth of the population report feeling lonely either often or all the time. Developing health or mobility issues are triggers for loneliness as they prevent people from getting out and about as they used to.

Trinity’s befriending service tackles this issue by matching someone living with a progressive, life-limiting illness to a local volunteer, who helps rebuild their confidence and sense of connection.

Ken, who has Parkinson’s disease, receives a visit from Befriending Volunteer Eddie once a week. He said, “‘I need the ability to walk around the block, otherwise I will seize up. I can’t get my wife to help me because she can’t walk well enough herself.

Eddie has been so helpful and he’s given me the confidence to get out and walk up the road. We’ve got a lot of mutual interests. He’s just marvellous.”

Alice, a Befriending Volunteer, said, “People think that befriending for a hospice is daunting but I find being a Befriending Volunteer extremely rewarding – it’s only a couple of hours each week but I know it makes a big difference to the person I visit. This experience has helped me become a better, more compassionate person.”

Mat Hay, Befriending Project Coordinator said, “We have a waiting list of people who need our support. We desperately need more people to volunteer to help us meet the demand. That’s why we are asking local people to make befriending their New Year’s resolution.”

Volunteer Befrienders need to be aged 18 or over able to commit to volunteer for 6 months or more for 2-3 hours per week.

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