New befriending project

We're supporting older residents with mental-health needs


New befriending project

Published on Mar 20, 2017

We’ve joined forces with leading London housing associations Peabody and Genesis to launch a befriending project to support our older residents with mental-health needs.

V50 Befriending Programme

The programme, called V50, will train over 100 residents, aged 50 and over, to become volunteer befrienders. They will offer dedicated one-to-one support to unemployed peers with moderate to medium mental-health needs, and help them to connect with facilities in their neighbourhoods. Training we be provided by Genesis’ befriending service, and mental-health charity Mind.

Making a positive impact through befriending

Mary Whitfield, Head of Social Impact at Viridian, said: “Something as simple as personal contact can make a real positive impact in the lives of those who feel isolated and lonely. At Viridian we have already seen this work through two incredibly successful services for our older residents. This new project will now enable us to expand our offer further, helping to support more customers, who are most in need, to live independently.”

Richard Bellis, Head of Genesis Connect at Genesis Housing Association, said: “Befriending has been shown to work wonders in the way that it can build positive relationships, improve well-being and reduce social isolation. Volunteers will also benefit from expert training, increased mental-health awareness and that good feeling that comes from supporting others and giving something back to your community.”

Veronica Kirwan, Peabody’s Director Community Programmes, said: “More than 700 Peabody residents have felt less isolated as a result of our befriending scheme. This funding will enable us to offer more practical support to older residents with mental-health needs. The new volunteer befrienders will help to enhance our residents’ quality of life and create strong communities.”


This has all been made possible thanks to a £100,000 grant, awarded to us by innovation foundation Nesta, and the Office for Civil Society.

Become a befriender

If you are aged 50 or over and are interested in becoming a befriender, please contact or phone 0203 202 3826.