Tackling loneliness

Millions of older people in the UK feel lonely or isolated which can have a detrimental impact on their mental and physical health and also increase pressure on the health and social care system.

If you are concerned about your client, patient or resident’s wellbeing, you can refer them to us.

Our Friendship Wheel service

Friendship is the number one factor influencing our health, wellbeing and happiness. However, our friendship group usually shrinks as we grow older and it is harder to make new friends in later life.

This is where BuddyHub steps in. We support older adults to rebuild their social circle using the Friendship Wheel approach. We carefully match one older adult with up to three like-minded Buddies. Their new friends will help them age actively and well and turn loneliness into happiness.

Overview

  • A very personalised approach
  • Three new friends for an older person
  • Robust volunteer vetting making it safe to refer ‘adults at risk’
  • Accessible for all levels of mobility
  • Cutting-edge technology to more efficiently find, recruit, onboard and match local volunteers
  • Shared commitment for Buddies, which removes dependency and adds peer-to-peer support
  • An affordable membership club with the best customer experience at its heart

Member benefits:

  • Spend frequent quality time with like-minded people
  • A fun and flexible way to rebuild their inner supportive circle
  • Enjoy new activities with the support of their Buddies
  • Join a club that reconnects them with their community
  • Help to develop digital skills supported by our ‘Tech Buddies’
  • Support to develop, establish and maintain the friendships

How to refer someone

What people say

I'm getting back to living and not just functioning. I'm starting to do things I was interested in before. It's like I've woken up!

Member

There was something very jolly and nice when all three of us were together. It made it more like a naturalistic friendship group and, therefore, more genuine.

Buddy

People these days often have fairly busy lives so having two other Buddies to share the visits with is a huge pressure release.

Buddy

It’s such a fresh, wonderful and well needed service for both the Seniors and their loved ones. You’ve made it easy for me to refer people to you and you act fast.

Referrer

You could have picked anyone but you picked the right one. My life is difficult but the people coming into my life are complementary and helping it to improve. Managing my health is a full time job!

Member

Frequently asked questions

How much does a BuddyHub membership cost?

We have different pricing plans to suit different Member requirements. You can check them here.

How can I contact a BuddyHub Connector?

Naailah Jummun is the Connector. She manages the Member’s Friendship Wheel and answers any questions that you or they may have. You can contact her via:

Email: naailah@buddyhub.co.uk 
Phone: 0771 411 8916 / 0203 642 6871 

What are the means-tested benefits accepted by BuddyHub?

- Above pensionable age: Pension Credit; Housing Benefit; Council Tax Support; Cold Weather Payment
- Below pensionable age: Jobseeker’s Allowance; Employment and Support Allowance; Income Support; Housing Benefit; Universal Credit

Who is eligible to join BuddyHub?

Anyone who is: 

  • Aged 50 and over
  • Living in Islington, Hackney, Haringey and the City of London.
  • Housebound or using mobility aids or a wheelchair
  • Living with mild or early stage dementia
  • Living with a visual or hearing impairment but able to effectively communicate by phone and in person
  • Living with a stable mental health condition 
  • Able to engage with our team and their Buddies.

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. 

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. 

Can Members use a ‘Personal Budget’ to pay for their membership?

Yes, BuddyHub is a membership club and the guidance to ‘The Care Act 2014’ recognises that people may wish to buy club memberships with their Personal Budgets. We can accept fee payments using a council prepaid card or if the Council manages your Personal Budget, a payment plan can be set up. Please contact us here to discuss this payment option.

I’ve made a referral, what happens next?

  1. We will get in touch with you if more information is required.
  2. We will contact the person you referred at least three times over a three week period on different days and times, to confirm their interest and suitability for the service.
  3. If they’re interested in joining, we send out a letter explaining more about our service
  4. We provide steps to offline or online sign up (also by a family member)
  5. Our Connector meets the Member at our offices or their home
  6. We start looking for their Buddies: it can take 1-2 months to match the first Buddy (longer for more specific requirements)
  7. The first Buddy is introduced to the Member (by the Connector)
  8. The second Buddy is introduced to the Member by the 1st Buddy
  9. The third Buddy is introduced to the Member by the 2nd Buddy
  10. All Buddies are introduced within around 6 months and we provide ongoing support

Please note: we can only provide timely updates to referrers if we gain the Member’s consent.

Do you offer discounted memberships?

Yes, BuddyHub offers a discounted rate for Members who:

  1. Genuinely cannot afford regular rates
  2. Do not have a family member who can help to cover their membership fees
  3. Receive at least one means-tested benefit

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

How can I explain what you do to someone I may refer?

- BuddyHub supports you to meet more people and make new friends.
- They will introduce you to three Buddy volunteers who can go with you to events and activities or you can just enjoy each other’s company.
- It’s very flexible. You and your new Buddies can decide when and where you meet - at home or outside - and what you do.
- Usually you meet your Buddies one to one but sometimes as a group too.
- Their Connector, Naailah, meets you at the start and gets to know you, your situation and
interests and what you would like to do with your Buddies.
- Naailah will then connect you with Buddies who live close to you and are interested in doing the things you want to do
- There are affordable membership fees depending on your income level.
- Are you ok for me to pass on your details to Naailah so she can get in touch with you and tell you more about their service?