What is Befriending?

The Mentoring and Befriending Foundation give the following definition of Befriending:

A voluntary, mutually beneficial and purposeful relationship in which an individual gives time to support another to enable them to make changes in their life.

At Leeds Mind, this involves partnering our clients with a volunteer, who will meet them regularly, either just for a visit or for an activity or outing of some kind.  Hopefully, this will help to address the isolation, lack of motivation, or lack of self-confidence that can develop when people experience mental health difficulties.  The intention is that this will help people to feel valued, to experience a period of stability through maintaining a managed relationship, to have a period of respite for them or their carer, and provide hope that they can improve their life.

Who is Befriending For?

Befriending is a city-wide service for people who are experiencing problems with their mental health, and who, as a result, are more likely to experience social isolation, or a limited social life.  Befriending may also help people who are on the road to recovery and need short-term support, possibly around a specific issue.

What might a partnership meeting involve?

  • Meeting for a tea or a coffee
  • Going for a walk
  • Home visits
  • Going to the cinema
  • An activity at a sports centre
  • Daytrips (seaside, museum, the Dales, etc.)
  • Anything people want as long as both parties agree, and it’s ethical and affordable!

The focus of Befriending is around gaining independence, self-confidence and self-sufficiency, so it is important to note that partnerships are time-limited to one year.

Leeds mind supports a range of Peer Support and social groups which provide opportunities for many of our clients to develop their social networks.

How can I get a Befriender or refer someone to befriending?

The Leeds Befriending Service is collectively delivered between Leeds Mind and Making Space.  

Referrals from the CMHT services at Millfield House and Malham House  need to go directly to Lynda at Leeds

Please send referrals from other sources to Making Space.

Please contact Elizabeth, Fiona or John at Making Space for a referral form.
tel: 0113 276 1421

Access to the Befriending Service is through referral from a GP, a care worker, or a mental health professional.  One of these professionals might recommend Befriending to someone, or people can ask to be referred.

If you want to discuss any of this with someone before making a referral, please do not hesitate to call us on 0113 305 5800, or contact Making Space on 0113 276 1421.

Social Groups

Leeds Mind also offer a variety social groups. Please click to find out more….

How can I volunteer as a Befriender?

The Befriending Service is entirely dependent upon the contribution of our volunteers, so we always appreciate it when people want to get involved.  We provide training for the role, and cover costs for travel and activities.  Volunteers get involved for a variety of reasons, both personal and professional – many people want to “give something back”, and many students find that Befriending can be very useful experience for a career in mental health.

Please note volunteer applications are currently closed. We are not accepting new volunteering applications to the Leeds Befriending Service as we are currently at capacity.

However, there are volunteering opportunities for S.E.L.F (South & East Leeds Friends). We are look for volunteer befrienders to work with people aged 50+ in the South and East of Leeds. Please click here for more details: