A  Reaching Communities grant from the Big Lottery Fund has funded a relaunch of our SBVS and HALE project until 2019. We are open for new referrals and volunteers for the Shipley Area Links Befriending and Advocacy Service. 

Befriending is for older people (over 50 years), who do not meet people as much as they would like. A local volunteer befriender visits them in their home for conversation or sometimes telephones. They may also sometimes go for a short outing. Visitors are security checked and no charge is made for visits. Referrals can be made directly to SBVS or HALE or if you would like to volunteer as a Befriender we would be delighted to hear from you.  We currently have around 80 volunteers visiting over 100 older people across Bingley and Shipley.  Joy Mills coordinates this service for the Bingley area. She is based at Shipley and Bingley Voluntary Services (SBVS) at Cardigan House.

Joy Mills our Befriending coordinator,  can be contacted on 01274 787933 or email Joy,  if you live in or around Bingley, have some spare time and would like to make friends with an older person local to you, please get in touch. Training and expenses are provided. We also hold social 'get-togethers' for those involved.

"The befriending service is a very caring and supporting service and we do feel that clients get a lot of satisfaction from this" - Social services
The scheme is accredited by Mentoring & Befriending (part of National Council for Voluntary Organisations). We are delighted to have achieved their Approved Provider Standard in recognition of the quality service we provide.

Shipley Area Links - Befriending Service
This befriending service is provided within a partnership project between Shipley & Bingley Voluntary Services and HALE (Health Action Local Engagement) as Shipley Area Links (SAL). It has been funded by Big Lottery since 2009. We are grateful for our current Reaching Communities grant, which covers the project until 2019. It is specifically for older people in the Bingley and Shipley area, who are isolated due to ill health, who feel lonely or lack confidence. There is a waiting period for volunteer matching, but Specialist befriender staff can visit in the meantime, prioritised according to need. We hold social 'get-togethers' for those involved. The scheme also includes a Citizen Advocacy service – see below.

The Shipley Area Links befriending service also includes advocacy

The Advocacy service works in the Shipley and Bingley areas, with individuals aged 50 and above, who use services of SBVS and HALE. Advocates work to support people around any issues that affect them the most. If an Advocate cannot provide what is needed then you will be signposted in the right direction.
Our aim is to:-
• Empower people to access and engage in new services at the right time.
• Enable people to improve and manage their own health and wellbeing.
• Improve confidence by ensuring people’s voices are heard.

“Shahleen was very helpful and always finished whatever we had planned, she has been a big help to me”  - Advocacy service user

It’s been lovely knowing you. You have been patient, you’re not in my face pushing me like some people do”  – Advocacy service user

This is a FREE service. For more information about Advocacy please contact Shahleen on 01274 781222, or download a copy of our Advocacy leaflet.

Need to make a referral for befriending?

Befriending is available to people over 50 who live alone and are isolated due to health or other factors. Health or social professionals can download a referral form or telephone to make recommendations. Family and self-referrals are also accepted.

Those who live in Bingley, including Cottingley, Gilstead and Eldwick, Crossflatts, Wilsden, Cullingworth and Harden, contact Joy at SBVS, by telephone or email as above or 01274 781222. She will arrange to meet at home to discuss whether befriending is for you, before introducing anyone. 

For referrals across Shipley, Nab Wood, Baildon, Frizinghall and Wrose, contact Lesley Danson at the HALE Project, Shipley on 01274 271088.

Please note:  This service urgently needs more volunteers. There will usually be a wait for matching and unfortunately we can not always provide a visitor.