BAVO


Community Companions befriending projectlogo

Funded by Big Lottery Fund

Led by BAVO in partnership with Neath Port Talbot CVS

The Community Companions scheme is a free of charge, confidential and non-judgemental service which provides people companionship through volunteer befrienders.logo

The scheme provides a flexible service for people who may feel isolated or lonely. It is not a substitute for professional services, but to compliment existing support. The person receiving the befriending can choose how often they would like support and what kind of befriending they need, including going out and about or a friendly chat at home.

Anybody supporting a person who feels that they need that little bit of extra support or companionship, can refer people to the scheme. People can also self refer.

Click here for our digital story providing an overview of project >>>

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Friendship and support for youLady sitting car

If you are feeling lonely and isolated we can help.

Do you sometimes feel like this?

  • Lonely with no extended family or friends around you?
  • Would you like somebody to accompany you when you’re going out
    and about?
  • Transport is a problem and you can’t get to the places you’d like
    to visit?
  • You’d like somebody to pop in for a chat and a cup of tea?

Wouldn’t it be nice if somebody could:

  • accompany you to one of our community cafés, a local group or
    activity of your choice?
  • call in for a chat or take you shopping?
  • take your dog for a walk with you?
  • play a game of scrabble over a cup of tea?

We support many people just like you through our volunteer befrienders. They will give some of their own time to offer you companionship if you    are feeling lonely or need that little extra help to get out and about and back into community life.

We will visit you in your own home and you can decide what type of  befriending you would like. The choice is yours!

We can help if you:

  • feel lonely or isolated;
  • live in Bridgend County Borough;
  • live in sheltered or rented accommodation, housing association property or your own home;
  • have suffered a bereavement and need support to get back into community life;
  • need extra support with practical things like going for a walk or shopping;
  • want to make new friends and participate in community activities or clubs, but don’t have the confidence to go there alone.

 All our volunteers are fully trained

All of our volunteers will have followed a carefully planned training  programme and will be carefully matched with you. You will also receive regular contact from BAVO’s Project Officer who will ensure that you’re happy with the volunteer who is  supporting you  and with our befriending service.

All of our volunteers will have undergone a DBS check to ensure your safety.

What happens if I ask for help?

After asking for support, our Project Officer will come out to visit you and take some details. They will discuss what types of befriending you would like and will ask about your interests. This information will assist us with matching the right volunteer to you. Once we have matched a volunteer befriender, they will come and visit you at an agreed time along with our Project Officer. Your befriender will then continue to visit on a regular basis, if that is what you want.

Listen to Mair's story >>>

We will keep in touch with you on a regular basis to ensure that you are happy and getting the most out of befriending.

You can decide if you want our support to stop at any time.

Listen to some of our recent service users Audio stories click here

For further information call BAVO, T: 01656 810400, E: bavo@bavo.org.uk


How to become a volunteer befrienderTwo ladies enjoying a cup of tea

Make a difference to someone’s day. An hour of your day goes a long way!

Join our Community Companions befriending project to help socially isolated people within Bridgend County Borough. Help them to meet
new people, improve access to local services and improve their overall health and wellbeing.

We are recruiting and training volunteers aged 16 + to befriend people who may feel isolated and lonely for various reasons.

Imagine going days or weeks without seeing somebody or not being able to get out of  the house? An hour of your time to visit someone or to help them participate in community activities can make a huge difference to their day.

Our volunteers may befriend a person by visiting them in their own home for a couple of hours a week, accompany them to go shopping, support them to go to medical  appointments, visit a community café or various other social activities and clubs.

A simple guide to becoming a befriender:logo

  • You must be aged 16 or over;
  • We ask that you can commit to a minimum of an hour a week over a three month period;
  • You will be expected to attend our free training with other new volunteers before being placed;
  • Travel expenses will be paid if you travel to support a person, although we will try to place people in their local area as far as possible to minimise costs;
  • Your befriending support for a person is completely confidential;
  • You will have to undergo a DBS check at enhanced level which is free of charge;
  • You will receive full support from our Project Officer during your time as a befriender.

Download our Community Companions volunteer befriender information handbook >>

Further details are available by calling BAVO, T: 01656 810400 or E: bavo@bavo.org.uk


ReferralsTwo men standing in garden

Working together to support people

What is the Community Companions befriending scheme?

We are a free of charge, confidential and non-judgemental befriending scheme funded by the Big Lottery Fund, giving high quality support to     people living in Bridgend County Borough. We provide a flexible service to people who maybe isolated and lonely. We are not a substitute for professional services, we are here to complement existing support and we value our working relationships with other agencies.

Please be aware that our volunteer befrienders are unable to provide any medical or personal care or domestic support.

What can we do?

  • Reduce loneliness through companionship provided by our volunteer befrienders;
  • Support someone to participate in a community café;
  • Reduce isolation and increase social support through various networks;
  • Improve people’s confidence, self-esteem and emotional wellbeing;
  • Support access to community activities, services and appointments;
  • Provide an informal approach through our volunteers when befriending people, which might be more suitable for those who are reluctant to take up other support services;
  • Provide local volunteers who know the area and can encourage people to participate more in community life;
  • Signpost people to appropriate agencies when they require additional help and support.

Who can refer people?

Anybody who is supporting a person and feels that they need that little  extra support or companionship. These can be health professionals such as occupational therapists, GPs, social workers and district nurses. Housing associations can also refer, as well as voluntary organisations,    family members or friends. We also have people who self-refer.

How do we refer somebody?

  • Discuss our service with the person concerned, they must be happy and agree to receive support from us; 
  • Contact our BAVO office and speak to our Project Officer;
  • Complete a referral form (see below).

We will:

  • set up an initial visit with the person requiring befriending to discuss their needs;
  • carefully match a trained and DBS checked volunteer to the needs of the person;
  • accompany the volunteer on their initial visit;
  • contact you to inform you that the befriending service has started.

Download referral form here >>>

Download further information call BAVO, T: 01656 810400, E: bavo@bavo.org.uk


Group of people potting plants around table at community cafeCommunity cafés

Throughout Bridgend County Borough there are community cafés, where you can come along to meet new friends, take part in activities and enjoy getting out of the house.

There are a number of community cafés throughout the county borough, where you can come along to meet new friends, take part in activities and enjoy getting out of the house.

Find out where a community café is near you >>>

For further details call BAVO, T: 01656 810400, E: bavo@bavo.org.uk