Youth Philanthropy Initiative

Across the Highlands we are currently supporting over 190 mental health, unpaid carers and memory loss friendships, so it is important for us that young people across the Highlands discover more about what we offer to individuals with mental health difficulties, unpaid carers and individuals suffering from memory loss.

We would love if you would consider representing us for your Youth Philanthropy Initiative in your school!

If you do choose to represent Befrienders Highland, we have some information below and please do contact us for more information we are more than happy to speak to you, and also meet if that would be useful for you. We are also more than happy to work with you on powerpoints and presentations for your school.


Befrienders Highland was established in 1993, to provide befriending support to people with enduring mental health challenges, who were lonely and isolated living in the community. Over the years, the organisation has grown and diversified, and now offers befriending through 1:1 contacts in the community, video calling, phone calls, letters or email, throughout the Highland area. In 2017 we adopted a recovery model, so people now work towards goals which are important to them, with the support of their trained volunteer. Since this time, we have had a number of people join our volunteer team who were formerly befriended themselves, to offer befriending support to someone else. This was an unexpected outcome of introducing the recovery model, and has led us to trial a new additional model of befriending through Peer Support, since 2022. 

What do we do?

We are a small voluntary organisation working to improve the lives of people who are experiencing mental ill healthmemory difficulties or dementia and carers . We work with adults (aged 18 and over) who are lonely and isolated, and live within the Highland Region of Scotland.We offer befriending using the REFOCUS recovery method.

Our Services

Face to Face Befriending is provided in the following areas: Inverness, Nairn, Alness, Invergordon, Dingwall, Skye & Lochalsh and Caithness for people with mental ill health.

Distance Befriending by phone, letter or email across the Highlands region for people with mental ill health, memory loss, or who are adult carers.

Group Befriending 


Why is support important?

Our mental health befriending follows the Refocus Recovery Model developed by Kings College, London, using peer researchers to develop the programme, based on research evidence. Individuals identify personal goals for their recovery and with their volunteer’s support and encouragement, work towards these. Using the INSPIRE self-rating score, our coordinator’s conduct formal reviews with each person every 6 months, to monitor progress, adjust goals as necessary, and to evaluate and gain feedback from each service user and volunteer on the services we provide, where we can improve, and any changes that they would like to see. Through supported mental health befriending, we can evidence that individual’s feel more self-confident, and that they start to have hopes and dreams for the future, and take steps towards their long-term goals for recovery. Befriending is a two-way process, and we know that it also benefits our volunteers, who tell us it helps them, too, feel more connected to their community, and improves their own mental health and wellbeing whilst reducing the stigma of mental health and isolation by increasing confidence and reducing social isolation.

How would the money help Befrienders Highland?

Our volunteer pool contains over 160 people across Highland, including individuals who previously accessed the service themselves. We will celebrate our 30th Anniversary in 2023, and recently launched our 30 for 30 for 30 campaign to raise awareness, fundraise and to encourage people to talk more about mental health and loneliness. Helping us to fundraise for Befrienders Highland would enable us to continue to meet the high demand for our services with demand doubles since the pandemic and currently exceeding our capacity.  Each befriending friendship costs us £1500 a year to support, by raising £3000 for example you would enable us to support two friendships for a year! Helping us to support mental ill health in the Highlands.


Befrienders Highland Limited is a Scottish recognised charity (SCO29386) and is a company limited by guarantee, registered in Scotland (199867).

Its registered office is its postal address: Befrienders Highland Limited, 1st Floor, Academy House, 42 Academy Street, Inverness, IV1 1JT