Make time for others

Are you the caring and curious type? Do you like sharing your interests or exchanging stories? Perhaps you simply want to feel more connected to your community…

By becoming a Buddy you will not only help alleviate loneliness for an older adult in your area, you will also meet new like-minded people in a fun and flexible way.

Is BuddyHub in my area?

Find out now! Just type in your postcode

Our Friendship Wheel scheme

A Friendship Wheel is a concept developed by BuddyHub. It is a social circle of like-minded friends created by matching one older adult with up to three like-minded Buddies.

You are carefully matched based on where you live, your interests and experiences. What you do and when you meet it is up to you! We encourage fun and adventure at every opportunity but don’t feel like you have to pick a wacky new activity every time. What’s important is that you visit your Member at least once every three weeks.

Everyone looks out for each other so you’re more likely to feel supported. That’s what it’s all about: making friends and enjoying each other’s company.

What our Buddies say

One of the most beautiful, life-changing and human experiences I have ever embarked on.

Buddy

My BuddyHub experience has been exceptional. It’s a wonderful experience all round!

Buddy

I was matched with a Member from Sierra Leone who I never would have met in the normal course of life. It's been my pleasure to get to know him and talk about our different life experiences.

Buddy

She and I had a right natter, and decided to meet again next week for the cinema or an exhibition.

Buddy

He is such a kind, intelligent man with a fantastic sense of humour. He has a lot of knowledge to pass on and I’m very happy to learn from him. It really is a perfect match.

Buddy

It's helped alleviate my own loneliness.

Buddy

What's next?

Frequently asked questions

Who pays for activities?

We’re all about independence, so you should pay for yourselves. We don’t advise lending money to one another as this can complicate matters, but if it’s an “I’ll pay this time, you get the next one” arrangement then go ahead.  

Why do you obtain an Enhanced DBS disclosure for Buddies?

If a Buddy does the shopping for their Member or helps them pay a bill or with another aspect relating to a general household matter, even once, they are entering into a regulated activity requiring an Enhanced DBS disclosure check. We want our Buddies to be free to support their Member in this way if they are willing to do so and their Member asks them to. The pandemic has underlined the importance of this support. 

Is there an age limit for being a Buddy?

Yes, Buddies must be over 18. That’s about it! 

How do I apply for an Enhanced DBS certificate?

If you do not have a valid one, you can apply through your Buddy Dashboard. Once you complete payment for your DBS, we will send you an email with further instructions on how to apply through GBG. 

I’ve verified my documents and my references have been approved. What happens next?

Great job! Just sit back and relax. GBG will notify us of the outcome of your DBS application so you will not need to lift a finger. Once your DBS has been approved, we will notify you and you will be able to book your Welcome Chat. 

What are the requirements to become a Buddy?

In order to become a Buddy you need to:

  1. Be over 18 years old.
  2. Have a valid Enhanced DBS certificate that checks the Adults’ Barred list or apply for one through your Buddy Dashboard. Oh, one thing... If you apply for your DBS certificate with us, we ask you to cover the cost (£13.50). But this is valid for three years and it could come in handy if you choose to volunteer elsewhere. 
  3. Provide two character references.
  4. Meet us in person for a Welcome Chat.
  5. Have a passion or interest in helping to alleviate loneliness in your community.

What is a Buddy Plus?

They do everything our Buddies do but they also donate money to our cause each month. Why donate? Well, as a wise person once said (probably an accountant), with great ambition comes great financial responsibility. So to make the biggest impact possible, we need a business model that’s sustainable as well as enabling us to offer our service to older people who couldn’t afford it otherwise. We offer a deep discount on membership fees to people on means-tested benefits. 

To be sustainable, we need to fund this subsidy. That’s where our wonderful supporters come in! In the true spirit of community, those that can afford it are subsidising those that can’t, helping us set up more Friendship Wheels for people on a low income and making a really important difference. Thank you! 

What happens if I am a Buddy Plus member and I want to cancel?

If you are paying the optional Buddy Plus monthly donation and wish to stop donating then simply let us know and we will cancel this for you. You can still continue volunteering without the donation if you wish.

I do not live in one of your operating areas but I really want to become a Buddy, should I still apply?

Thanks for your interest in becoming one of our Buddies! BuddyHub creates a new social circle for a lonely or isolated older person by connecting them to Buddies who live pretty close to them in their wider community. For that reason, we only accept Buddies that live within a 30-minute walk from our Members.

If we aren’t in your area you can subscribe to our newsletter here to get updates on our activity and news of our expansion into other areas (hopefully the next one will be yours!) 

Why do you check the adults barred list?

Many of our Members are vulnerable adults or ‘adults at risk’ thus we check the adults barred list. The barred lists allow the DBS to keep a record of people who are not permitted to work in a regulated activity with children and/or vulnerable adults. It's a criminal offence for a person to work with a group from which they have been barred from working.

I don’t live in your areas of operation but I work there, is this accepted?

Unfortunately you need to be living within our areas of operation. We find that it doesn’t work as well when there is a longer distance between you and our Members. By living close to them, it will be quicker for you to travel to and from your visits so you can spend more quality time together. 

How will meet-ups be organised?

First we will introduce you to your Member. We will schedule an intro meeting for you that will be done by your Connector, if you are the first Buddy joining the Friendship Wheel, or by the last Buddy who joined. This will help break the ice and make it run smoothly. 

After this initial introduction, you can decide together with your Member the best days and times for visits. Also, always remember to let BuddyHub and the other Buddies know the meet-up schedule via the messaging app Telegram. It's better to discuss this between yourselves as well as any potential stumbling blocks, such as work or study. Things change though, and if they do then please give the other person a little notice. 

To complete my GBG application, which documents can I choose for verification?

For more information on the documents you can choose for verification, please see GBG’s ID Verification Guide available here.

How will I verify my documents for my DBS check?

After you have nominated your documents on the GBG website, you will need to verify them at the post office. This should only take a few minutes and you can choose one close to you by entering your postcode and selecting the option ‘CRB & ID Verification Service’ here.

I’ve chosen my verification documents but I need to change these/amend my DBS application. How do I do this?

No problem. You just have to log back into your GBG account and choose the “Amend” button. Keep in mind that if you amend your application you will need to print a new ID Verification Service Letter to take to the post office. 

What will we be doing together?

It’s up to you both. We encourage fun and adventure at every opportunity but don’t feel like you have to pick a wacky new activity every week. There’s nothing wrong with having a catch up over a cuppa from time to time. 

As a Buddy, what would my minimum commitment be?

We ask that you meet with your Member at least once every three weeks. This is a flexible arrangement to be agreed between you. If something comes up and you are struggling to find the time in a hectic week, one of the other Buddies in your Friendship Wheel should hopefully be able to step in.

The friendships we create are the long-term kind, the best kind. That’s why we encourage Buddies to only volunteer if they can commit to at least year. It’s better for everyone all round.

Will I need to show you a copy of my DBS if I applied for one through your online platform?

If you applied for a DBS through BuddyHub, you will not need to show us a copy. GBG will automatically notify us of the outcome.  

What is an Enhanced DBS that checks the Adults’ Barred List?

An enhanced check shows spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings (as in a standard check). However an enhanced DBS that checks the Adults’ Barred list also shows any information held by local police that’s considered relevant to working with vulnerable adults.  

What is a character reference and who should I choose as my reference?

A character reference is a brief assessment of you as a person based on the view of someone who knows you well (and ideally for at least two years).

References should be objective and impartial so you shouldn’t ask a near relative or people you are barely acquainted with. Good referees are people who have been relatively close to you: teachers, mentors, neighbours, family friends, colleagues, a job centre contact (if you’ve been unemployed).

If you’ve taken part in volunteer schemes or clubs and societies, these are excellent sources. If you cannot easily nominate someone like this, we will usually accept references from friends. Unless you’ve worked with someone for many years, an employer isn’t usually suitable for a character reference because the aim is to get a picture of you as a person rather than as an employee.  

What will you ask my referees?

We will send them an email (that you will be able to preview on your dashboard) with a 5-minute survey for them to complete. It’s rather simple!

The focus will be on your attitude, personal characteristics, skills and qualities. These could include honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, communication skills, reliability and general personality.  

Any tips for creating a great profile on my Dashboard?

Yes we do!! One tip is to add as much as you like in the boxes provided. Especially on the “Interests” and “Skills, Experiences, Hopes and Dreams” buttons. We really encourage all our Buddies to write a few things in some of the boxes. This will add colour to your profile making it easier to find the best match for you. 

Why do I need an Enhanced DBS certificate?

All of our Buddies need to undergo a criminal check. The Enhanced DBS checks are done so that we can safeguard our Members, some of whom are vulnerable adults.  

I have a DBS certificate. How do I know if it is accepted by BuddyHub?

Your DBS certificate must show that:

  1. It is an Enhanced Certificate. At the bottom of the first page of your certificate it should read: “Enhanced Certificate. This document is an Enhanced Criminal Record Certificate within the meaning of sections 113B and 116 of the Police Act 1997.”
  2. It checks the Adults’ Barred List. On the first page of your certificate: if your certificate reads “Not Requested” under “DBS Adults’ Barred List Information” this means that it does not check the Adults’ Barred List” and you will have to apply for your Enhanced DBS on the Buddy Dashboard.
  3. It has been issued within the last 2 years. The date of issue will show on the top right of the first page of your DBS Certificate. 

Why do you charge for my Enhanced DBS Certificate application?

The Enhanced DBS certificate is done via a third party organisation ‘GBG Online Disclosures’ so we ask you to cover GBG’s net administration cost to us of £13.50. This is your personal certificate and will be sent directly to you. It is valid, with BuddyHub, for three years and it could come in handy if you choose to volunteer elsewhere too. This donation helps us to run our service and keep down the cost for our Members. But you can still become a Buddy without helping us in this way just contact us here.

What is a BuddyHub Buddy?

They are our wonderful volunteers who we match with our Members feeling lonely or isolated. Why should you volunteer? The first reason has to be because you want to. Perhaps you care about community or you feel older people are neglected in society and you want to do something about it. But there are other practical benefits that might appeal to you. How about the opportunity to expand your social circle beyond your workplace and current friendship group? Discovering things you didn’t know about your local area? Or gaining invaluable life skills… Convinced? Then step this way! 

Why don’t you accept my existing Standard DBS certificate from another organisation for a volunteer befriender role?

This organisation must have restricted your befriending role to non-regulated activities for example chatting to a person at home. BuddyHub Buddies are free to carry out regulated activities to support their Members. You can apply for a new enhanced DBS certificate, which checks the adults barred list, through BuddyHub.

Why don’t you accept my existing Enhanced DBS certificate from another organisation for a volunteer befriender role?

We will not accept your existing Enhanced DBS certificate from another organisation, even if it is for a volunteer befriender role, if it does not check the adults barred list. This organisation must have allowed you to engage in a regulated activity as a volunteer but restricted your role to volunteering with people who are not vulnerable adults. Many of our Members are vulnerable adults or ‘adults at risk’. You can apply for a new enhanced DBS certificate, which checks the adults barred list, through BuddyHub.