Vital friendship scheme helps those in need

Age UK Oxfordshire in White Lion Walk
Age UK Oxfordshire in White Lion Walk

A vital befriending service for people living with life limiting illnesses is keen to let members of the Banburyshire community know it can offer help and support.

The dedicated volunteers of the free Oxfordshire Befriending for Life (OxBEL) service, which is part of Age UK Oxfordshire, visit and support adults of any age living with an advanced life threatening illness.

OxBEL co-ordinator June Gardner said: “OxBEL befrienders are ordinary people with a deep desire to give dependable and consistent companionship. Sometimes family and old friends offer support, but it can be hard for an ill person to tell them how they are really feeling.

“The simple straightforward friendship of someone new who cares can make a huge difference. Our volunteers are trained, well supported and comfortable with difficult subjects or feelings. They are happy to talk and listen if needed or will just pop in to share a cuppa.”

Norman has been an OxBEL volunteer for the past three years. Unfortunately he lost his befriending partner before Christmas and is now available to help someone else.

He said: “We just want people to know we’re out here waiting for them.”

The service covers the whole of Oxfordshire and those interested in getting a befriender can call 01235 849427 or e-mail There is also more information available on

As part of OxBEL’s awareness work, a death café will take place at Age UK Oxfordshire’s Banbury centre in White Lion Walk today (Thursday) from 11am-1pm.

People will be able to share their experiences of life and death.