All Opportunities

Telephone Befrienders

Just 30 minutes of your time a week could make a big difference to someone’s life. We’re looking for kind and chatty people to volunteer as Telephone Befrienders, providing companionship and regular conversation to isolated people in Poplar and Bow.

For some people being alone can be a luxury break in a busy life, but for many being alone all day, every day, is a fact of life. There are lots of people in Poplar and Bow who regularly experience loneliness and many who live in isolation, and the impact on their mental and physical health can be far reaching and catastrophic.

Companionship and having the opportunity to regularly talk to someone friendly can make all the difference to someone who feels isolated, forgotten about and alone.

Our Telephone Befriender volunteers will make a telephone call to their befriendee for around half an hour, each week. As part of the service, befriendees (those receiving calls) can choose to have a face-to-face meeting once a month with their befriender. When you apply please state whether you are applying for telephone befriending only or a mixture of telephone and in-person.

Each volunteer will be matched with one befriendee.


Description of tasks

  • Make calls at the time and day agreed by you, your telephone friend and Poplar HARCA
  • To help encourage and enable your telephone friend to become more confident through your friendship and support.
  • Engage in fun and lively conversation over the phone.
  • Encourage your telephone friend to attend activities offered by their local community centre
  • Develop and maintain appropriate boundaries and confidentiality with other volunteers, colleagues and callers.
  • To actively take part in the monthly peer support sessions.
  • To keep in contact with your supervisor to let us know when you have made a call, can’t make a call or have any problems or safeguarding concerns.
  • Adhere to all Poplar HARCA policies and procedures.


Useful Contacts

Becs Marshall
Community Projects and Partnerships Officer
0207 538 5748 

Sadia Yasmin
Volunteering Officer
0777 941 6360


Monday to Friday, depending on request

1 or 2 calls per week, for around 30 minutes or more


All calls will be made remotely


We ask our volunteers to commit to 1 – 2 hours per week for six months. You will have the opportunity to discuss your availability as part of your volunteer interview. You will be expected to attend a training programme as well as regular group and individual support sessions with your assigned PH Contact. You may be asked to undertake further training once you’re volunteering.

All volunteers are required to complete an application form, attend an informal interview and give two referee’s details. You will be required to undertake a criminal record check which we will pay for and to pass a training course


  • Excellent listening and communications skills – if English is not your first language it may be possible for us to match you with a telephone friend who shares your mother tongue.
  • A genuine desire to support isolated people
  • To deliver the service within the guidelines of the role description and your training
  • An appreciation of the issues facing isolated people
  • The ability to be supportive and non-judgemental regardless of the persons background, age and life choices.
  • The ability to encourage and motivate another person
  • Have a good understanding of the need for confidentiality
  • To maintain a relationship based on trust you must be reliable
  • Flexible to meet the needs of your telephone friend

What can we offer?

  • You will have a full induction and at least three training workshops before you start the role
  • You will be offered opportunities to attend other training relevant to your role and to centre activity
  • You will have a named PH Contact and regular opportunities to discuss your volunteering experience
  • You will receive agreed travel expenses should we ask you to travel to our centres, we will also reimburse you for the credit it costs you to make the calls
  • We will provide you with an honest reference regardless of how long you are with us
  • We are committed to provide a safe and supportive environment.

Application form

Volunteer application
Your gender:
Are you aged 18 or over?
If you're under the age of 18 we require permission from your parent or guardian prior to you volunteering. Please provide their details below.

More about you

Which days are you available to volunteer? *
Do you have any health issues or disabilities which we should be aware of or can support you with?
Would you like to be added to our Volunteering WhatsApp group and receive updates on upcoming events?
Are you a Poplar HARCA Resident?
Can we add you to our mailing list for other one-off volunteering opportunities? *
Would you like to receive our monthly newsletter to stay up-to-date with free training, job opportunities, Poplar HARCA updates and much more? *
If you're currently unemployed, would you like to receive support from our Employment & Training team? *

Who should we contact in an emergency?


Please provide contact details of two referees who are both willing to provide a character reference. This will involve answering questions on a range of topics from your strengths to areas for development and your time management. Unfortunately we cannot accept references from family or friends. If possible, at least one referee should know you from work, education or volunteering. There are lots of people suitable to provide references, if you are struggling to think of anyone suitable please get in touch and we can discuss your options.
Data Protection *
When you use forms to get in touch with us, we collect personal information for the purposes of dealing with your enquiry. Our website is developed by Tessellate Design Studio Ltd and they are our data processor. Tessellate Design Studio will only process personal information in line with our instructions. Read their full privacy notice. The information submitted to us may also be stored longer on Poplar HARCA databases for the continuation of services to you. We will not share your information with any third party company unless we have sought your consent or to carry out a legal obligation to you, such as fix a repair. Read our full privacy notice.

Volunteer Corner