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Hello! I’m Anna Ridley, the new Project Coordinator for Leeds Mind’s Befriending service. I am so thrilled to announce that we are relaunching our Befriending service thanks to the National Lottery Community Fund. The service will run for two years.

Leeds Mindful Befriending Sq

About me:

I have worked at Leeds Mind for 5 and a half years. I have over seven years’ experience working in mental health and previous experience in a care environment. I’m extremely passionate about the wellbeing of older people and being able to provide them with safe, respectful and engaging support through befriending. 

On top of this, I believe befriending volunteers gain invaluable experience through these interactions, forging strong partnerships and making pathways into employment and other exciting opportunities. Most of all, befriending creates joyful, informal, social spaces for individuals to be themselves and connect with others, ultimately improving their mental health and wellbeing.

Why Befriending?

The Leeds Mind Befriending service works with people over the age of 50 in and around Leeds, who may be struggling with loneliness or social isolation. Studies show that 15% of older people in Leeds are socially isolated – this is around 37,000 people. This can have a negative impact on our mental health. Our Befriending service promotes better mental health by working to reduce this loneliness and social isolation.  

We will work to match befrienders and befriendees based on mutual interests, geographical location, and personal preferences. With your befriender, you can enjoy a chat over a cuppa and share what’s on your mind, building valuable relationships in regular weekly meetings.  


How you can get involved:

Before we accept any referrals to our service, we are looking for friendly and enthusiastic volunteers. To apply, please fill out an application form.

Read the Volunteer Befriender Role Description.

Fill out the Befriending Volunteer Application Form to apply.


What to expect as a volunteer:

When we receive your application form, we’ll book in an informal discussion with you, just to confirm your suitability for the role and to answer any questions you may have. We then request references and a DBS Check (Disclosure and Barring Service Check – e.g. criminal record check). All volunteers will complete full training and an induction into the role. You will receive training in Mental Health Awareness, as well as introductory training on Safeguarding; Equality & Diversity; Working Safely and Data Protection. You’ll then provide companionship and support to the person or people who need it, building up their confidence and helping them to engage in the local community. You can volunteer anything from just one hour per week once you get started.

The volunteer experience:

One of our previous befriending volunteers, Charlotte, said: “I’d highly recommend volunteering as a Befriender, it’s such a wonderful experience and is super rewarding. I volunteered during the first lockdown, and it gave me a real focus each week and sense of routine which in turn helped with my own wellbeing. It’s a great way to share positive experiences and it’s lovely meeting someone new who you’d perhaps not cross paths with day to day.”

You can look out for more information regarding our project as it develops on our social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn) and here on our website. 

If you would like any more information on our project, then please contact:


Phone: 0113 305 5800 (Leeds Mind reception)