STOP PRESS....With effect from 1st January 2020 we will be implementing DBS checks for all befriending services volunteers as part of a review and update of our safeguarding policies & can read more about the DBS Check process by downloading our DBS Factsheet (Click here to open/download)

Supported by the Civil Service Insurance Society Charity Fund, the National Visitors Network (NVN) is our home befriending service and one of our flagship charitable services. It offers companionship to any CSRF beneficiary (retired civil servant, partner or dependant) by way of a home visit. 

Pictured above: Befriender Alex (right) during a visit to retired civil servant Jess

How does it work?

The first visit is arranged through us with one of our trained volunteers, it’s a social call in the person’s own home; a chat over a cup of tea.  They then decide between the two of them how often they’d like the visits to take place.  They usually last around an hour each time. Our volunteers are not able to assist with domestic tasks, money or personal care, visits are purely for a social purpose to help relieve isolation and loneliness.

Pictured above: Befriender Katy (right) during a visit to retired civil servant Lillian

The service launched in March 2013 and is available throughout the country and has provided over 5,000 home visits since it started.

Working with our Partners

Since launching the remit of the National Visitors Network has evolved to include engagement with other partner organisations from within the public sector. We currently also welcome applications from volunteers and service users from the BT Benevolent Fund.

Pictured above: Befriender Louise (right) with retired civil servant Olive

Tackling a national issue
Age UK figures on the subject of loneliness show that half of all people aged 75 and over live alone, and 1 in 10 people aged 65 or over say they always or often feel lonely; that’s just over a million people. Shockingly, half of all the older people they surveyed consider the television their main form of company. The CSRF remains an active supporter of the Campaign to End Loneliness and is committed to help alleviate loneliness/social isolation for its beneficiaries.

Pictured above: Befriender Robert (left) during a visit to retired civil servant Betty


This service is provided entirely by volunteers who give their time generously. We are always looking for new volunteer befrienders to join the team so if you have some time we'd love to hear from you. The application process is simple and involves a registration form followed by telephone based training session to provide you with an introduction to befriending along with our expectations of volunteers. Ideally we expect volunteers to be able to commit to at least 6 months of regular visiting.

If you would like to receive a visit, become a visitor or find out more you can give us a ring (all calls treated in strictest confidence) on 020 8691 7411 or email: [email protected]

Further Information: 

Fact Sheet on the Do's and Don'ts of being a Befriender