Project information

Befriending in Highland

We have a wonderful opportunity to develop a telephone befriending service in the Highlands of Scotland, supporting people with Heart & Lung disease. Both of these conditions affect Scotland’s ageing population. Our Big Give will sponsor a co-ordinator and a new team of volunteers.

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. Physical debility leads to loss of confidence and feelings of loneliness and social isolation, which impact negatively on mental health. This leads to more contact with health and social services. In Highland, these issues are made worse by rural living, where there are poor transport links.


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

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Implement telephone service


    » Phonelines installed, new equipment purchased and conference facilities set up for group dial-ins
    » Specific volunteer training sessions scheduled throughout the year for telephone befriending
    » Transition of current users and fast-track waiting list
    » Co-ordinator visits scheduled for matching new users with volunteers

    Complete transfer of all our current users and our waiting list cleared

    Aim 2

    Recruitment of new volunteers


    » Planned recruitment using current volunteer network
    » Planned new recruitment through current channels such as community centres, shops, local press and advertising

    We aim to recruit up to 20 new volunteers.

    Aim 3

    Increase capacity for people with Lung Disease and those in remote locations


    » New referral process created for people with chronic respiratory illnesses
    » Develop links with current NHS and social care professionals and third sector organisations, such as Highland Hospice
    » Promotion of new service disseminated through NHS and Highland social care

    New referrals coming through for people with chronic respiratory illness and people in remote locations we have not yet been able to support

  • 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 identified a 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 also identified that 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 through our website and social media bulletins.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £24,372

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      Amount Heading Description
      £3,500 Capital costs Telephone installation & suite of basic mobiles for volunteers, promotional materials
      £20,872 Staff & volunteer costs Co-ordinator PT post, weekly 5hrs management time, travel, volunteer recruitment, training, support
  • 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. Our current befriending service reaches out to over 3000 every year and is recognised as exemplary within Scotland.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Irene Gardiner

    An experienced manager with a background in health and social care, Irene is skilled in developing projects and supporting staff and volunteers.

    June Macleod

    June has a background in education and training and is passionate about developing our befriending service, she is current co-ordinator for Highland.


Will fund a full day training for a Volunteer Telephone Befriender; vital to help the service grow

I know that when I am down, she will build me up

Mary - Heart failure patient