Rotary Club of Rochdale

Befriending Scheme


Befriending Scheme



Winner of District 1280 The Keith Hoskinson Care in the Community Trophy 2010

The trophy is aimed at a unique Rotary club / individual project that has in some way impacted on the local community in care in a dynamic way.

Rotarian Mike Tomkinson is a Community Mental Health Worker with the national charity "Together" which is the oldest mental health charity in the country.
Mike is also the Convenor of the Community Service Committee of the Rotary Club of Rochdale and has identified an area of service where we can make a real difference to the lives of a few members of the community
Mike and his colleagues at “Together” are training and vetting some of the members of our Rotary Club and other volunteers so that they are qualified to befriend people with mental health problems who otherwise feel isolated and lonely.

Qualified Participants will commit themselves to befriend a client for about an hour once every two weeks. Not an onerous commitment but valuable support to help the recovery of someone who is struggling to make meaningful contact with friends in the community and who needs to increase their feelings of confidence, self-esteem and well-being. 

It is hoped that it can be widened to recruit participants in Rochdale from outside Rotary and that it can be duplicated by other Rotary Clubs across the North West and beyond

Donations to this scheme can be made on

Please read the updates below to see how the scheme is growing


The club is now in partnership with a befriending scheme operated by the Alzheimer’s Society.

If you are interested in volunteering as a befriender and would like more information then please contact Rotarian Mike Tomkinson on or  07582 954228

Mike is a befriender with this scheme and can supply further details.

If you would like to contact the Alzheimer’s Society befriending scheme coordinator directly this can be done using the following: or 07718113415.


The Befriending scheme is now approaching its first anniversary and has been making good measurable progress in supporting its clients. We have given three Befriender training schemes to eleven Volunteers and feedback from befriended clients has been very encouraging.

Now that Befrienders from the Rotary Club of Rochdale have helped set the scheme up, we at Together are working hard to recruit more Volunteers from the community as there is a considerable demand for this service.

After a great deal of work we have submitted an application for Approved Provider Status to the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation and they are in the process of auditing our work. Achieving this standard will positively validate our procedures and methods of working, giving confidence to all those involved.

On the last weekend in September Rotarians and members of Together staff will be displaying information about the befriending project in the exhibition area at the Rotary Conference in Llandudno. We wish to inform other Rotary clubs about the value of this work in the hope that they will consider setting up a similar project in their own areas in partnership with a local mental health charity. Staff from Together will be able to advise on all aspects of the scheme as well as how to make contact with local partners.

October 2009
We are delighted to announce that the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation has awarded the Approved Provider Standard to the FriendsTogether Befriending project. This National Award recognises the overall quality standard that the project has achieved and particularly the work of the Befrienders. As well as checking the project policies and procedures, the auditors paid particular attention to the feedback from clients about their experiences of befriending.

Together set up a Project stall in Rochdale Centre on Mental Health Day and received applications from 14 members of the public who expressed an interest in befriending. We will present the first training course for these applicants on Saturday 7th November. This represents substantial progress in the development of the project and will help to provide Befrienders for the large number of clients who are anxious to take advantage of this service

May 2012 update.

The Friends Together befriending scheme has been running successfully now for almost four years.
The project is registered on the Rochdale CVS website and recently this has resulted in 9 enquiries from people who are interested in volunteering with the befriending service. Additionally a Rotary Befriender has been involved with the training of new community volunteers to help give them first-hand knowledge of what is involved in working with clients.
Feedback from clients continues to be positive and shows how much they value the relationship they have with their Befrienders.
The project is due to be audited again by The Mentoring and Befriending Foundation in September and a successful outcome will ensure that the Befriending scheme will retain its validation approval by the Foundation.
A presentation was made to the Rotary District Assembly at Salford University on May 12th to inform other Rotary clubs about befriending in the hope that we can support them to start their own schemes locally.


Contact Information

Rotary Club of Rochdale

Masonic Buildings
Richard Street
OL11 1DU

Tel: 01706 767409

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