Visiting and Befriending


Visiting and Befriending

For decades, the essence of our work has been that person-to-person contact and spending time with people is our greatest gift. We call this befriending.  



How does befriending work?

Volunteer members visit to understand and assess each request for help individually but also to give people a sense of belonging through the work of:

  • providing food
  • providing clothes
  • providing furniture
  • helping with transport
  • offering friendship and support
  • providing financial assistance, where able
  • supporting ex-offenders or people in prison
  • raising funds to send children to holiday camps
  • organising trips and social events for older people
  • supporting migrants, refugees or people seeking asylum
  • offering care to the terminally ill and their famillies through end of life companionship


The list of support is not exhaustive as each volunteer member group has different capabilities. Last year, in response to increased demand, our 8,857 visiting members made 475,064 visits and spent 625,084 hours visiting.

Please note, our visiting members have a duty of care when assessing requests or referrals. They are not qualified to undertake responsibilities within the remit of trained professionals, such as care workers. We have strict safeguarding policies and procedures, and all visiting members must hold a DBS certificate.


Request help

Referrals or requests for help can be sent to


Where are SVP groups located?

Map of St Vincent de Paul England and Wales (SVP) member groups

Volunteer members join local SVP groups and these groups function to provide assistance to people within the boundaries of their local area. The map shows the number of SVP groups across England and Wales.

The national offices, located in Bradford and London with staff working remotely around the country, help to facilitate the filtering of requests for help to the appropriate local group. SVP groups then decide how best to approach each request with advisement from national office, where necessary. 


Diversity and Community

Our volunteer members visit and help anyone in need, regardless of faith, ethnicity, status or sexual orientation.