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The Befriending Scheme - Stowmarket

The Befriending Scheme provides friendship and learning opportunities for adults (16yrs+) from vulnerable groups, including those with mental health needs and older people, as well as our existing members with learning disabilities. We also offer various volunteering opportunities with extra support for those who need it.

Our regular drop-in centres, known as hubs, provide a place for our members to learn new skills, have fun and make friends. Running at six locations across Suffolk, the range of activities on offer is increasing all the time. Our members try their hands at drama, music and crafts, and enjoy games, cooking and relaxing over tea and biscuits.

Each Hub is run by a TBS Area Coordinator and supported by a team of dedicated volunteers. There are between 15-40 members at every Hub aged between 18 and 80! 

Stowmarket Hub Group:

Stowmarket Hub: Every Thursday from 10:00am-3:00pm, at Hillside Community Centre, Off Lavenham Way, Stowmarket, IP14 2BD. Contact Clare Styles on 07818296399

We also run Out and About sessions in the evenings and weekends, where our members can take part in activities in the community.

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1-1 Befriending:

Frequently Asked Questions:

What Is a One-To-One Befriender?

A Befriender is a volunteer who would like to spend some time with a member on a regular basis and provide them with friendship, company and support.  Volunteers and members may meet once a week, once a fortnight or once a month for a couple of hours. Meetings will be arranged with the support of your Link Co-ordinator.

Befrienders are there to listen and to talk with. If able to, members can get out and about with their befriender to carry out social activities including meeting for a coffee, going to the cinema amongst other things. Befrienders may also be able to visit the member at home in circumstances where the member is unable to leave their home. Members and volunteer befrienders are matched on location, hobbies and interests and personality.

All volunteers will have completed a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and will have completed an induction to the service.

What About Care and Support Needs?

The purpose of the one-to-one service is for volunteer Befrienders to provide individuals with company and companionship. Volunteers are not trained in personal care and are not responsible for addressing any personal care and support needs.

Does This Service Apply To Individuals With Dementia?

The Befriending Scheme will consider applications where the individual has Dementia, providing the individual meets the criteria outlined above. For safety reasons, The Befriending Scheme cannot accept referrals where the individual has surpassed a stage that we feel they would no longer benefit from the service.

How Can I Apply For This Service?

If you would like to apply to have a befriender, or would like to refer an individual to the service, you will need to complete a referral application form.

Please download the application form from our website. Alternatively, you may call the office on 01787 371 333 to request an application form be sent to you.

You will need to return a hard copy of the application form by post to:

The Befriending Scheme

1 The Croft

Sudbury, Suffok,

CO10 1HN

Once the application form has been received, the relevant Link Co-ordinator will be in touch to discuss eligibility. Individuals who are eligible will then go on to our waiting list for a Befriender. For individuals who are not eligible, we will do our best to signpost them to other organisations or support groups that may be better suited to their needs.

Who Can I Contact About This Service?

If you would like to know more about this service, please give us a call at the office on 01787 371 333 or email us at



Who to contact

Clare Styles
Area Coordinator Stowmarket

Additional contact

Tash Young
01787 371333
Additional Website
Befriending Scheme on facebook

Where to go

The Befriending Scheme
Hillside Community Centre
IP14 2BD
Area served
Venue Email
Venue Website
None specific
Restrictions to access
16+ Learning disability, mental health and elderly

Days & Times

Every Thursday between 10:00am and 3:00pm, Out and About sessions are on Various days
Time of day

Other details

Cost Details
This is a free service for those who are eligible under the referral criteria. Membership costs apply, please contact your local Area Coordinator for details. We may be able to assist you with the cost of your membership.
Referral required?
Referral and availability notes

Who Is Eligible For This Service?

To be eligible for this service, individuals must meet at least one of the following criteria:

Have a learning disability

Have a mild mental health issue *

Be an older person (65+)

Individuals being referred to the service MUST also:

Live in Suffolk

Be over 16 years old

Not be accessing another befriending service

Have limited social contact or regularly experience feelings of loneliness and/or isolation

* Please note that The Befriending Scheme will consider applications where the individual has a long-term mental health issue that is well managed. Eligibility is considered on a case-by-case basis. The Befriending Scheme have the right to review the eligibility of individuals at any time where it is felt necessary to do so.


Age Groups
16-25 years, Adults, Young people
Disabled Parking, Wheelchair Access, Adapted Toilet

Accreditation details
Mentoring and Befriending AccreditationWe are delighted to announce that The Befriending Scheme has been awarded a Bronze Standard Certificate from the Community Learning & Skills Development provider Realise Futures.


This is a scheme for people with learning disabilities, costs of activities vary and there are different membership options and a bursary scheme available. Pre booking is required and all information is on our website.

Last Updated

Local Offer Local Offer Record

Experience of including people with special educational needs and disabilities

The Befriending Scheme provides friendship and learning opportunities for people (16yrs+) from vulnerable groups, including those with mental health needs and older people, as well as those with learning disabilities. We also offer various volunteering opportunities with extra support for those who need it.

If you are unsure whether this service is suitable for your needs, please feel free to call our office for an informal chat on 01787 371333.

01787 371333.

More like this

Befriending groups
Social and support groups
Mental health
Learning disabilities


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