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Project information

Mental Health Befriending Service (User Led)

Providing long term mental health service user led volunteer befriending needed to reduce social isolation experienced by mental health service users within Bradford & Airedale. Recruiting, training and supporting mental health service user volunteers.

One Year

Charity information: Vital Projects

Vital Projects
  • Need


    To reduce social isolation which is a consequence of mental illness. Social isolation is also a significant risk factor in deteriorating mental health, relapse and suicide. The direct effects of mental illness such as depression, anxiety, psychosis, and the indirect effects such as reduced self-confidence, low self-esteem and public prejudice / fear often leads to a vicious-cycle of further social isolation.


    Our Mental Health Befriending Project reduces the social isolation of mental health service users within Bradford by providing a team of volunteer befrienders to undertake regular visits to mental health service users who want to use the Befriending service.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Recruit and retain volunteer befrienders with personal experience of mental ill health.


    » Provide a training programme for volunteer befrienders.
    » Provide a supportive and on-going learning environment for volunteers.

    What success will look like

    Have 20 trained volunteers who will befriend at least one person per year.

    Aim 2

    Mental health service users will become less isolated


    » Recieve referrals from agencies and individuals wanting to access the service, and match referees to volunteer befrienders
    » Establish, Monitor and Review Befriending Partnerships

    What success will look like

    Develop social contacts through Befriending support and reduce social isolation of those accessing the service.

    Aim 3

    Promote and develop the Befriending Service.


    » Produce and distribute information and publicity.
    » Involve volunteer befrienders and those using the befriending service in the on-going development of the service.

    What success will look like

    To recieve referrals from individuals and agencies wishing to access the service.

  • Impact


    The project aims to tackle the problem of social isolation / exclusion, lack of self-esteem and self-confidence experienced by mental health service users aged 18-65 within the community of Bradford and District. Social isolation is a common consequence of mental ill health and is a significant risk factor in deteriorating mental health, relapse and suicide. Mental health service users will have the opportunity to increase social involvement, and be supported by a service user volunteer


    Risks include not being able to recruit volunteers and this will be addressed by retaining current volunteers and continued recruitment of new volunteers. Additional risks may be that the demand for the service is greater than can be provided and this may be addressed by implementing a waiting list, and appropriate assessment of needs in order to match befriending partnership accordingly.


    Detailed statistical evidence will be gathered and reported at regular intervals. Testimonials and service user feedback will be gathered to evidence the qualitative benefits of the service. Finance Management will be undertaken and accounts audited.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £44,775

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £30,800 Project Costs Project Coordinator & Volunteer Expenses
      £13,975 Running Costs Inc Management
  • Background


    Bradford & Airedale - Bradford has the third highest figures nationally for people on incapacity benefit due to mental ill health. A recent report produced by MIND said that 84% of those suffering with mental ill-health report feeling lonely.


    Bradford has a population of approx 400,000 and is an area referred to in poverty indexes. The primary beneficiaries of the Befriending Service will be those accessing the service, and those providing the service as volunteer befrienders.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    BAMHAG have 22 years experience of providing Mental Health User Led Services, and 8 years experience of providing Mental Health Befriending. We believe that our ethos, principles and practice put us at the front of mental health service provision in Bradford.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Project Co-Ordinator

    To recruit, train and support volunteer befrienders, receive referrals, meet service users and manage the service including reporting mechanisms

    Volunteers (Approx 20)

    It is expected that 20 trained volunteers will befriend at least one person per year and we will be providing approximately 50 hours of befriending