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Medway Voluntary Action (MVA) are working in partnership with Carers FIRST (CF), NHS Medway CCG and other local voluntary and community organisations to deliver and co-ordinate befriending support in Medway.

MVA's Befriending Programme

Whitney leaning against a railing on a downtown street

Befriending offers supportive, reliable relationships through volunteer befrienders to people who would otherwise be socially isolated.

Around the UK, there are befriending projects which organise effective support for young people, families, people with mental ill-health, people with learning disabilities and older people, amongst many others. Our programme supports adults living in Medway, but cannot support people with advanced dementia, unreasonable behaviours, or complex mental health problems.

The results of befriending can be significant. Befriending often provides people with a new direction in life, opens up a range of activities and leads to increased self-esteem and self confidence. Befriending can also reduce the burden on other services which people may use inappropriately as they seek social contact. 96% of people we work with (who have had repeat baseline assessments) have improved in at least one measure of health and wellbeing, 53% are less anxious, and 38% have reduced their use of health services.

We help to connect people with activities which are going on in the communities around us; we provide either one-to-one or telephone befrienders, and we run park chat sessions across Medway, as well as a WhatsApp social and walking group. We also run Zoom chat sessions twice a week for our Members. Over the pandemic our volunteers have been making around 150 calls per week to isolated people in Medway.

We are taking new referrals to our service too- so if you are aware of someone who is on their own, and perhaps self-isolating, you (or they) can get in touch and we will do our best to help.

We're also running a digital inclusion pilot- Bridging the Divide. This lends tablets to socially isolated adults in Medway while helping them with a Digital Champion to engage in the digital arena- and hopefully join in some of our zoom chat sessions amongst other things.

Some important things you should know before making a referral to us:

Whitney leaning against a railing on a downtown street

  • The key criteria for being eligible for befriending support is that the person being referred is living in isolated circumstances or has little social contact. Other eligibility criteria applies to specific befriending support provided by MVA and its partners, these will be explained to you once we have received your referral.
  • Your referral for befriending support will be reviewed by MVA, who will arrange or signpost you to appropriate befriending support. If it is not possible or suitable to arrange befriending support to an individual, MVA will contact the person who made the referral to explain any decisions made and suggest alternative solutions where possible.
  • Befriending is not: the carrying out of any personal care, housework, or other domestic tasks. Neither is it the provision of social care, health support or any caring responsibilities.
  • If you know someone who might benefit from the befriending support we offer, then a Befriending simple referral form can be completed by
    • A referrer (such as a relative, friend, or health or social care worker) - in this situation, the person being referred must be aware of, and have agreed, to the referral; or
    • An individual wishing to refer themselves to the befriending scheme.

Download Referral Form And Guidance Notes

The referral form can be downloaded from here.

Guidance notes for completing the referral form can be downloaded from here.

Volunteer as a Befriender

If you are interested in volunteering to help us with this service we would be delighted to hear from you. If you already have a DBS check that is fantastic. If not, don’t worry as we can arrange that and all safeguarding and other necessary training to ensure you and our service users are safe and secure.

Please contact the Befriending team using the details given below.

The application form can be downloaded from here.


The Test Bed Fund is funded by Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group and managed by MVA's Befriending Team. It offers grants to organisations operating locally in Medway or Swale for the provision of services and activities that seek to strengthen community cohesion through befriending services. It is specifically designed to pilot new and innovative ways of working.

We were looking for:

•New initiatives to be explored/ tested

•Specialised conditions-focused befriending support

•Locality-based befriending services

•Further development of existing services

•Stimulating local activities

The 'End of Year Report 2020-2021' can be download from here.

All applications had to be in by 27th August 2021, with projects starting no later than October 2021.

The following documents explain more about the fund

Test Bed Funding Guidance Notes
Test Bed Funding Expression of Interest Form

Test Bed Funding Application Form

More Information

For more information on any aspects of the Befriending scheme please call the Befriending team on 01634 564939 or email them at

Many thanks.

“The Friendly Team”