Befrienders encourage and support vulnerable women to become more independent, empowering them to make their own decisions, find new hobbies and get involved in their local community.

Befrienders receive 3 in-person taught sessions of comprehensive training over 3 Saturdays plus additional home study between sessions. Our training comes with over 30 years of experience working in women’s mental health, giving volunteers the very best preparation for the role, and a support network of like-minded women.

The Role:

Upon the completion of training, you would be matched with one woman who may have experienced childhood abuse, trauma, sexual violence and/or domestic abuse, and will be experiencing mental ill health and social isolation.

As a befriender you would be expected to commit to 2-3 hours on a weekly basis for one year and attend monthly group and individual supervision.

Befrienders offer emotional and practical support to help women improve their lives. You and your befriendee would start by meeting up to get out and about, usually for coffee and walks, whilst you get to know each other and build trust. As the relationship develops, you would support and empower her to make changes and develop her confidence in doing everyday things such as getting the bus, joining an art class, or finding a new hobby.

You would also be a non-judgemental listening ear, providing emotional support and the space to discuss the issues she is struggling with. Part of your role would be demonstrating what a healthy and boundaried relationship looks like and helping her to feel safer in the world.


You don’t need much in the way of professional experience, as we provide comprehensive training but you will be enthusiastic and interested in helping another woman improve her mental health and wellbeing, be honest and friendly with good communication skills, confident in social situations, non-judgmental, reliable, patient and a good listener.

The befriending role can be challenging and emotionally demanding at times, therefore we need befrienders who have adequate life experience and feel emotionally robust and resilient enough to take on the role. We welcome volunteers with personal experience of mental health and other relevant issues but will require you to have at least a one year period of stability and ideally to have received professional help like counselling in your recovery.

We particularly welcome applications from women able to volunteer and meet their befriendees during the day time. Befriending will take place within Bristol or South Gloucestershire.  Availability is limited for women who can only volunteer during the evenings and weekends.

What Past Befrienders Say:

“Through doing the befriending training, I have been able to broaden my knowledge of mental health services in the Bristol area, inspiring my future ambitions.”

“The training has given me the toolkit I need to be a good listener and to motivate my befriendee to live her best life and move on from her past. I can’t recommend Womankind enough!”

“Womankind is doing amazing and essential work for women, and I am incredibly proud to have the opportunity to be involved.”

If you have any further questions about this role contact Nicola at