This 32-year-old is on a mission to end loneliness
"I’m Mike. I’m 32. I’m single. I live with my parents in Doncaster. And I hang out with old people."
Doncaster resident Mike Niles launched the b:Friend service in 2016 after previously working for an older person’s befriending project in London. He found his experience as a befriender to Mitsi was beneficial to both him and Mitsi and after returning to his home town, he identified a real need for a similar service in the area.
He gave up a full time London job in marketing to start the project and has been operating it from his kitchen at home ever since. Since its launch Mike has recruited 50 volunteers and supports 150 local people with the help of Lottery funding.
b:Friend volunteers visit the elderly once a week for tea and biscuits and the volunteers also take their new friends out for local trips. In addition to this, group sessions are held every week where the elderly can come together for afternoon tea, dancing sessions, talks and workshops.