Elder Tree Befriending has developed a unique and innovative partnership with Plymouth City Council, Livewell Southwest and Primary Care and provides a cutting edge befriending service for vulnerable and socially isolated people over the age of 50. We aim to engage the vast majority of our beneficiaries in a social engagement activity close to where they live that generates peer support and new and lasting friendships. For those who are particularly vulnerable and housebound, our volunteers offer their time to deliver a 1:1 befriending service in people's homes. We support all older people, including those living with Dementia, Mild Cognitive Impairment and Long Term Conditions. 

 It is hugely important to us that we see our beneficiaries for who they are. We listen intently to what they want and treat them with the upmost respect. We do not see older people or their circumstances as a business opportunity and do not sell or endorse products or services. 

As a charity we exist to support older people to continue to live independently in their own homes and we make a significant contribution to community cohesion and development. We are actively involved with many Statutory and Voluntary Sector organisations and we offer a weekly program of social inclusion and light impact exercise in 51 separate locations across the city. We are innovative and creative in introducing exciting new initiatives and activities.

The Five Elements that make up Elder Tree Befriending

One to One Support

Our  ‘One to One’ Befriending service supports frail and socially isolated older people who are housebound in their home with a Volunteer Befriender. We currently support over 100 individuals in this capacity.  There are other criteria that must be met for 'One to One' befriending, which will be checked by our referral team during their assessment visit. 

Social Inclusion Groups

We promote and support our beneficiaries to continue to live independently and make and sustain friendships through activity groups.  Stimulating the minds of our beneficiaries and facilitating companionship is key. We do this through games, quizzes, crafts, choirs, coffee groups, IT sessions and lunch/supper clubs. 

Active Lives

Active Lives is a preventative programme of physical activity which incorporates falls prevention that is delivered in various locations across the city. This includes: seated and standing exercise and movement classes, seated and mat based Pilates. Tai Chi sessions and a GP/Physiotherapist referred Strength & Balance programme. All sessions include time when our Project Workers can provide advice, information and signposting across a wide range of issues.

Active Men

The Active Men programme focuses on supporting and engaging with men who have limited access to social opportunities. This includes: Walking groups, Walking Football, bowling, curling, games, quizzes and activity groups. All sessions include time when our Project Workers can provide advice, information and signposting across a wide range of issues.


We are supported by 170 amazing volunteers and they are the beating heart and soul of our charity. They are leaders and decision makers and drive our development and direction of travel. 

If you know of SOMEONE who would benefit from our support, or are in need YOURSELF, please fill in one of our referral forms. One of our team will then contact you - it really is that easy!

For the Elder Tree latest timetable of activities please click here.


As an organisation that works with the elderly, it is important that we keep up to date with the latest government health advice. During the 2020/21 COVID-19 pandemic, we followed all government guidance to keep our beneficiaries safe. In addition, we tackled the resulting social isolation by carrying out welfare checks, shopping and pharmacy collections, providing hot meals in partnership with Pie Club and delivering 33 weekly Zoom groups to beneficiaries.