Project information

Befriending in Highlands

We have a wonderful opportunity to develop a telephone befriending service in the Highlands of Scotland. This will support people with Heart & Lung disease, which affect Scotland’s ageing population. Our programme will combat loneliness and isolation, bringing a positive boost to people’s lives.

12 months

Charity information: Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland

Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland logo
  • Need


    In Scotland, over 120,000 people are struggling with chronic lung disease and over 230,000 people with heart failure. Both of these conditions have a devastating impact on people’s quality of life. Health debility leads to loss of confidence, feelings of loneliness and social isolation, which impact negatively on mental health. This in turn leads to more contact with health and social services. In Highland, these issues are made worse by rural living with barriers such as poor transport links.


    Research shows that befriending can directly counter these effects. CHSS currently runs a successful and highly-regarded befriending service for people living with Heart Failure in Inverness. We wish to extend our service to include people with chronic lung disease and adapt this into a telephone service. This will enable us to reach many more people who need us, bringing friendship and encouragement to their lives and combating health-related loneliness in remote communities.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Create telephone service


    » Phonelines installed, new equipment purchased and conference facilities set up
    » Specific volunteer training sessions for telephone befriending
    » Transition of current users and fast-track waiting list
    » Co-ordinator scheduled visits to match new users with volunteers

    Success would be transitioning people from our current service, fast-tracking our waiting list, expanding to include people with lung disease, recruiting up to 20 new volunteers.

    Aim 2

    Recruitment of new volunteers


    » Planned promotion and recruitment through current local channels; local press, community networks and resources, CHSS website and social media,

    Success would be transitioning people from our current service, fast-tracking our waiting list, expanding to include people with lung disease, recruiting up to 20 new volunteers.

    Aim 3

    Increase capacity to include people with Lung Disease


    » New referral process created, using links with current NHS and social care links, third sector organisations
    » Promotion to health and social care professionals

    Success would be transitioning people from our current service, fast-tracking our waiting list, expanding to include people with lung disease, recruiting up to 20 new volunteers.

  • Impact


    The long term impact of this project will be to not only increase the number of people using this service, but also empower volunteers and encourage social cohesion through peer-support befriending. A distance model of befriending is a sustainable long term service appropriate to the needs of people in Highlands, owing to the geographic challenges they face. With your help we can positively change lives both now and into the future.


    We have identified the risk to our service is the recruitment and retention of volunteers. To combat this, we ask for a minimum commitment of 6 months volunteering from the outset. Our strategy for recruitment would actively involve existing volunteers, and a wide-ranging campaign for recruitment and retention using partnerships and relationships already in place. We previously identified on-going support from the co-ordinator helps to keep volunteers motivated and maintain retention.


    We will report back to donors through their preferred method of communication which will be identified when they make a donation to us. This could include updates by email or by our website and social media bulletins.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £24,372

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £17,872 staff costs Includes co-ordinator salary, management time
      £3,000 volunteer costs recruitment, training, travel
      £3,500 equipment telephone installation, mobiles, promtoional materials
  • Background


    The Highlands are classified as a remote and rural region, where the effects of social isolation can be significant for people living in these locations. CHSS has a 9 year track record in delivering our exemplary face-to-face service, which is crucial for people who need it the most. Our service in Inverness and North-East Highland currently covers only a small part of this area and provides for heart failure patients only.


    All year round our award winning face-to-face Cardiac and Respiratory befriending service reaches out to more than 3000 people in Scotland. In Highland, our existing clients and volunteers would benefit from having the option to have telephone befriending (100 clients and 80 volunteers in 2014/15). We have a waiting list, so these people will be matched quicker and by extending inclusion to lung disease, our capacity will be immediately increased.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We work towards stronger, longer lives in Scotland for everyone affected by chest, heart or stroke illness. CHSS has extensive experience of developing services across the whole of Scotland, in response to direct needs of the community

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Irene Gardiner

    An experienced social care professional and manager, skilled in developing projects both in the public and private sectors.