How volunteering can help you beat loneliness

Volunteering in a shop

There are many ways to join in with others and help conquer feelings of loneliness. 

Many local Age UK organisations run befriending schemes, where a volunteer might visit or call you on a regular basis, and social activities such as lunch clubs. Or you might be interested in volunteering with one of these services yourself.

Mervyn Kohler, External Affairs Adviser for Age UK, says: “There is lots of evidence that volunteering benefits the volunteer, as well as the person being helped. It’s a cliché, but you do get out of life what you put in.”

There are also small things you can do to help yourself. Mervyn says: “Try to make a bit more effort to get out and about. Talk to your neighbours; try to become friendly with someone nearby. Even a smile and a hello in a shop can help. Don’t accept that loneliness is inevitable.”

Becoming a volunteer

Volunteering for the BHF is a great way to meet new people and be part of a team.

Whatever your skills and abilities, or however much time you can spare, we have opportunities to suit, whether it’s working in a BHF shop, helping with fundraising or one of the many events we hold every year.

In return, you’ll get the satisfaction of knowing you’re helping us to fight cardiovascular disease. While you’re supporting others, we’ll support you by providing training, and the opportunity to go on and gain professional qualifications. Last year, we awarded 800 NVQs to retail volunteers.

Visit our volunteer website, visit your local shop or call 0300 456 8353 to find out more. You can also find out about local BHF and other volunteering opportunities at

Meet other people in your situation

If you want to meet other people with a heart condition, we have a network of Heart Support Groups across the UK. Find your nearest group or call 0300 330 3300. Or join the conversation on our online community.

Find your local Age UK

Read how Men in Sheds is helping men overcome loneliness

Read our 6 ways to beat loneliness

Read Hilary's touching story of how she coped with loneliness

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