Linking Lives UK launch scheme to help churches set up a local telephone befriending service to reduce loneliness and social isolation

Linking Lives UK exists to reduce social isolation and loneliness, with a particular focus on older people.


In April 2020, at the height of the Coronavirus outbreak, Linking Lives UK launched its telephone befriending service model called Two’s Company.

Two’s Company is designed to be quick, easy and safe for churches to set up. The initiative requires churches to have:

  • a project coordinator – a person to lead the network and complete training via video conference call
  • a group of volunteers – it is recommended that these be volunteers who are already volunteering for your church or organisation
  • a freephone telephone number – suggestions about ways to set up a dedicated helpline number and how to engage with other local organisations are provided by Linking Lives UK.

Churches and other organisations looking to set up a telephone befriending service with the help of Linking Lives UK can find an information pack at

“We are very much aware that churches will be looking for safe and effective ways to engage with local people at this difficult time” said Jeremy Sharpe, National Director of Linking Lives UK.

Loneliness and social isolation impact greatly on our health and wellbeing, and is said to be worse for our health than smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

On their website, Linking Lives UK estimated that before March 2020, over 500,000 older people could go an average of 5-6 days without seeing anyone and that many people were also suffering with chronic loneliness.

Since the social distancing measures were put in place to halt the spread of Coronavirus, it is likely those who were already impacted by social isolation and loneliness will be experiencing more loneliness than ever before.

The Coronavirus outbreak largely reshaped the way Linking Lives UK has operated. It has postponed its home visiting service and all support is now being offered on the telephone. This new approach to staying connected has been piloted across four parts of the UK and is now being launched to all churches and Christian organisations on a national level.