Reducing Isolation and loneliness by developing positive relationships and networks in the community.



Engage Befriending

Engage Befriending connects isolated older people (55+) with volunteer befrienders in their local community through regular visits. This could be necessary due to ill health, disability, or other reasons leading to isolation or loneliness. Our service is available to people over the age of 55 living in the Reading Borough. People are able to self-refer and we also accept referrals from family/friends and agencies.

If you would like to find out more.
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“I have made a new friend and look forward to her visits.”

What we do

“…such a valuable service, just seeing someone once a week or so when we wouldn’t usually have much contact, my befriender has been such a support and a good friend.”

Engage works to alleviate loneliness and social isolation by recruiting, training and supporting volunteers to befriend isolated people in their community.

Engage currently runs two Programmes:
Engage Befriending– Enabling older people to overcome barriers to social connections through the support of a volunteer befriender.
Engage Wellbeing– Enabling adults to make positive choices to maintain or improve emotional and mental wellbeing through the support of a volunteer befriender.

Due to the Covid pandemic all befriending is currently being  provided by telephone but will return to face to face as soon as it is safe to do so.

How to

Last year…

We supported over 103 clients with 92 volunteers, providing 5,356 hours of support.

96% of clients said they felt less isolated since being introduced to their befriender.

Engage is 

The Mustard Tree is a family of projects seeking to be a voice for the unheard.

We strive to identify, support and empower the misunderstood and overlooked in our local community.


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Mentoring young people aged 15 to 25 into education, employment or training.

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