Age UK North Yorkshire & Darlington

Good Friends

An initiative that encourages people to help their disadvantaged neighbours

Available in:Darlington
  • A initiative that encourages local people to support a disadvantaged neighbour
  • Older and vulnerable can receive visits from people to provide social companionship and help with specific tasks
  • Good Friends won a national award in 2015 for it's work to support older people in Darlington
  • To date over 800 Darlington residents have helped over 500 older and vulnerable people in need

About the Good Friends Service

Good Friends is a volunteer project with a difference. Good Friends focusses on the little ways people can help to improve the life of their older or vulnerable neighbours.
This project bridges the gap between voluntary sector services such as a Age UK Darlington’s ‘Rely on Me’ Befriending and Neighbourhood Watch’s ’just watching’ approach.

A network of Good Friends keeps a watchful eye on their older, isolated and/or vulnerable neighbours. They provide support and friendship. They also assist with a range of issues which if left unaddressed could compromise their ability to live safely and independently.

People from all walks of life are welcome to get involved, and the focus is on the little ways you can help make life easier for an older or vulnerable person in your area. If you want to volunteer but don’t have a lot of free time, or you want to get involved in another project alongside your usual volunteering then Good Friends is for you. Good Friends are people who want to give up some of their time to make a difference.

All Good Friends are fully DBS checked and have access to specialist training. They are then matched to a nearby person in need of help.

Good Friends is joint-funded by the following organisations:

  • NHS Darlington Clinical Commissioning Group
  • Darlington Borough Council
  • Durham Police, Crime & Victims Commissioner
Community social support
Encouraging friendship
Attending local activities

What can Good Friends do?

The kinds of assistance Good Friends have provided includes:

  • Social support: Decreasing isolation, increasing confidence and promoting positive well-being.
  • Practical tasks, particularly for people with disabilities; for example helping with gardening, taking out wheelie bins, walking dogs.
  • Accompanying on trips out, often where the recipient wouldn’t have had the confidence to do so alone, including going to the shops, attending lunch clubs, days out.

Good Friends recipients all report feeling more positive and having improved wellbeing as a result of being involved in the project.

How can I get involved?

We're aiming to support as many older and vulnerable people as possible. If you have an hour or so a week to spare, Good Friends is ideal for you.

We'll look to match you with someone nearby who has similar interests, and together we'll reduce loneliness and isolation in Darlington!

The level of support a Good Friend wishes to commit to is entirely their choice, and further opportunities are available to those who wish to take their volunteering further. Opportunities include accredited training, elevated responsibilities as a Good Friends leader - or more specific volunteering opportunities, such as a Volunteer Befriender.

Interested in becoming a Good Friend?

Become a Good Friend Today

Did you know?

More than 900 Good Friends have helped over 800 socially isolated people

Good Friends Testimonials

"I was very lonely"

I was very lonely and it made me unwell, I ended up in hospital for a while. Joining Good Friends has improved my quality of life enormously. I look forward to Peter and Alison’s visits. The scheme has simply given my life some purpose

Good Friends Location & Contacts

This service operates from:

Bradbury House

Age UK Darlington,
Bradbury House,
Beaumont Street West,

01325 362832

Monday to Friday: 8:30AM - 4PM
Saturdays: 10AM - 2PM
Sundays: 12PM - 2.30PM

Good Friends Contact Details:

Lynn Walton
Volunteer & Good Friends Coordinator

Make an enquiry

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Age UK Darlington is a registered charity (Registered Charity No. 1128377) registered in England and Wales as a Limited Company no. 6817492). Registered address: Bradbury House, Beaumont Street West, Darlington, County Durham, DL1 5SX.

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