Adult Befriending Service, Orkney (Update)

What was the issue you were addressing or working on?

The health and social care partners in Orkney recognise there is significant evidence to show that isolation can both cause and exacerbate poor health outcomes.  Reducing isolation is understood to prevent or at least delay such outcomes from arising and therefore prevent or at least delay the increased use of other more expensive services.  The Befriending Service therefore forms an integral part of Orkney’s overall approach to the improved health and well-being of older people.

The full Adult Befriending Service Example of Practice (Update) is available here. It is an update of the original Example of Practice published in 2013, which can be accessed here

What you did?

Voluntary Action Orkney recruits, trains and supports volunteers to offer a befriending relationship with older people including strengthening their links to the local community.  Volunteers are matched with an older person and visit weekly or fortnightly depending on the older person’s situation.  The service provides:

  • trained befrienders for people with dementia across Orkney (all islands)
  • group/intergenerational befriending within local communities to encourage peer to peer relationships
  • an intensive, time limited support service specifically targeted at avoiding hospital admission or facilitating prompt discharge
  • signposting to and collaboration with other organisations and or services

What were the outcomes - benefits or otherwise?

As at September 2014:

  • 6 additional volunteer befrienders recruited and trained over the past year
  • 5 volunteers have been trained in Dementia awareness and 6 in falls prevention and awareness
  • There are currently 17 1:1 matches, with 6 new matches made in the last 6 months
  • Volunteers deliver 5 group sessions per monthRegular seafarers sessions delivered, since 1st gathering Dec’13 and the Seafarers’ IT Group established funded by The Maritime Trust (
  • The intensive, time limited service received 3 referrals and delivered 2 time limited support visits in its first 6 months
  • 4 Intergenerational sessions delivered per month,

The full Adult Befriending Service Example of Practice (Update) is available here

Contacts - to find out more

Linsey Drever,