Open up your world

Growing older can be challenging. Retirement, changes to health and mobility, friends and family passing away or moving on… These are all facts of life but they can lead to isolation and loneliness. It doesn’t have to be this way.

If you, a family member, or friend are feeling that way, BuddyHub can support you to open up your world again.

Our Friendship Wheel service

Friendships are at the core of one’s well-being. Think of how much happier you can feel when you’re with others. BuddyHub helps to create that feeling by building a social circle around you. We value you as an individual and all that you have experienced so we match you based on who you are and what you like to do.

We do that by introducing you to up to three Buddies who would love to learn from you. Your new friends will give you regular company and something to look forward to. Buddies are the missing link enabling you to rediscover and explore your passions and interests.

Here’s your chance to tell a few tales or bake the best cake your Buddy has ever tasted. In return, they could help you become a whizz on your smartphone or move a few things around. Together you might just crack that crossword. The choice is yours!

What our Members say

We love going on little adventures together
Perfect fit
Amazing match
So much joy
Life-changing experience
I'm getting to try something new

I am 76 and I am a carer for my husband, who had a stroke which took away his speech. I joined BuddyHub a year ago because I thought it would be a good way to meet new people and have a chat about things. When I met my first Buddy I was surprised at how young she is, I wasn’t sure it would work. But everything has gone really well. I have three Buddies now and I am so glad I joined.

Jane, Member

Following my father’s passing, mum retreated further into her own company. The Buddies have shown a genuine interest in getting to know mum, even taking her out to the cinema. She genuinely looks forward to their regular visits and it gives me considerable peace of mind to know she is having some social interaction outside of the narrow confines of her two children. I think this is an excellent programme that has filled a definite hole in mums life.

Talina, Member's daughter and Friendship Wheel Sponsor

What’s next?

Joining BuddyHub

BuddyHub is a membership club and you can find a Friendship Wheel plan that is right for you.

Regular

£28/mo
  • £28 joining fee

  • For online Members

  • Online registration

  • Office Welcome Meeting

  • Options available

Plus

£29/mo
  • £48 joining fee

  • For offline Members

  • Offline registration

  • Home Welcome Meeting

  • Options available

Extra

£36/mo
  • £54 joining fee

  • For Members who need extra support*

  • Offline registration

  • Extended Home Welcome Meeting

  • Specific Buddy Requests

  • Extra Buddy training

  • Extra ongoing support from Connector

*For example, if you are living with a severe mental condition that is stable or have a sensory impairment.

Our inclusive rates

Discounted

£2/week
  • If you are in receipt of a means-tested benefit, you may qualify for our discounted rates which start from £2 per week.

Options available

  • Would you prefer to have your in person Welcome Meeting at home rather than travelling to our office?
  • Do you have specific requests for the Buddies you would like to meet such as the language they speak?

You can add these options to your joining fee:

  • Home Welcome Meeting: £20
  • Special Buddy requests: £42

Frequently asked questions

Why isn’t BuddyHub free?

BuddyHub works on the same principle as charities who operate theatres and sell variable priced (but not free) tickets, some of which are heavily subsidised by Arts Council grants and supporter donations. This enables them to recover all the VAT on their costs. The Friendship Wheel service fees are VAT taxable. To enable us to recover all the VAT incurred on the associated costs of running the service, we cannot offer the service for free.

BuddyHub is able to offer subsidised fees to Members on a low income thanks to the generous donations of our Buddies and other supporters.  

I find it difficult to make new friends. Is BuddyHub for me?

We understand that meeting new people can be daunting sometimes and even the most sociable people can find it hard to make friends on certain occasions. The best thing to do is open up and let someone in. They may surprise you. You may surprise yourself! Through your Friendship Wheel, you will have support every step of the way. 

Is there an age limit?

All of our Members are aged 50+. You could be 55 or 105, we will be happy to have you as one of our Members. 

Why do people sign up as Buddies?

There are countless great reasons why people become Buddies but they will be spending time with you because they enjoy your company and want to spend time with older adults outside their usual age peer group.

Some Buddies may just want to meet new people or are looking for a way to give back to their community. Others may have a loved one who has experienced/experiences loneliness and isolation and wish to help others because of this. 

Tell me more about the Buddies. How do you select them?

We thought about an assault course but that seemed a little over the top. So we came up with a very simple vetting system, which includes a criminal record check and references, together with training. Our Buddies are selected because of their location and interests, or experience and personal qualities. This approach to matching gives them the best chance of forming a meaningful friendship with you. 

What happens if I don’t click with my Buddy?

We do try to make the best matches possible, based on your likes and interests. But chemistry is a funny old thing and we can’t get it right every time - though mostly we do! After joining BuddyHub, we stay in touch to ensure that you are comfortable and enjoying your friendships with the Buddies in your Friendship Wheel. If not, we’ll do something about it. 

How often will I see my Buddies?

We ask Buddies to meet with you at least once every three weeks. We are happy to say that some Buddies decide to arrange visits even more frequently! When you have three Buddies in your Wheel you may be able to see a Buddy approximately once a week.

We must advise that being a Buddy is a flexible volunteering opportunity, therefore there may be certain times when a Buddy is less available than normal. However, another one of your Buddies may be available to visit during that time instead. 

Any tips for creating a great profile?

Yes we do! One tip is to add as much as you can. Especially on the “Interests” and “Skills, Experiences, Hopes and Dreams” sections. This will add colour to your profile making it easier to find the best match for you. 

What is a Sponsor?

It is a family member, friend or neighbour that would like to look after a Member’s Friendship Wheel. They can support practically with registration and arranging meetings or financially by paying for the service fee. Together, we will work out how they will get involved and what level of engagement they would like to have. 

Who is responsible for managing the Friendship Wheel?

We want all Members to relax and enjoy the magic of making new friends. That’s why we put Buddies in the driving seat and ask them to keep in contact with each other so they roughly know who is visiting you and when. Each of them will then get in touch to arrange a visit. All you have to do is decide if the date and time are good for you. If you have any issues with your Buddies, your BuddyHub Connector will always be here for support. 

What happens if a Buddy has to leave my Friendship Wheel?

We will manage this, inform the other Buddies and do our best to swiftly find a replacement. 

Why do Members pay a monthly fee to join BuddyHub?

We are committed to building a sustainable social business to maximise the impact of our work over time. Ensuring BuddyHub has firm financial foundations and is not too reliant on scarce grant funding will enable us to keep the organisation running and achieve our vision. 

We also know that older people do not wish to be patronised, all too common in our ageist society, or to be thought of as being in need of charity. Paying a membership fee empowers our Members as our customers and fits well with our core value of respect.

To be inclusive, we offer affordable membership fees that vary according to a Member’s ability to pay. The service fee can also be covered by a contract with a third party organisation. 


I’ve made the decision to join BuddyHub. What happens next?

  1. Register with us. Please choose your plan and get started with your registration.
  2. Next Stage. If you are registering online, you will fill out all the information about you via your Member Dashboard. If you want to get things offline, we will post your Welcome Pack for you to fill out at home.
  3. Meet your BuddyHub Connector. We meet all of our Buddies and Members. This added personal touch helps with the matching process (plus we enjoy meeting everyone in our BuddyHub community). Our Welcome Meeting can be done at our offices or at your home depending on your preference. 
  4. Match. We will work our magic and match you with your first Buddy within a month or two.
  5. You meet your first Buddy. We will arrange this introduction and come along to make sure it all goes smoothly. Or, if you want to take things slowly, you can chat on the phone first.
  6. Add others. Your next Buddies joins your Friendship Wheel. Ideally within a month or two. But only if you’re ready, of course.
  7. Have fun. Pick and choose what you do. We leave that part to you and your Buddies.