Who would want to go through life without friends?

They are the people we share the good times with and who support us in the bad times. Friendship is also the number one factor influencing our health, wellbeing and happiness.

Today, 9 million people in the UK are feeling lonely. Of those, 2.6 million, always or often feel lonely, including 1.5 million adults over 65. Chronic loneliness is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day due to a 26% increase in the risk of premature mortality. This is a growing health crisis with serious implications for both society and the economy.

Our communities have been growing more fragmented for decades due, in part, to the collapse of intergenerational living and less contact across the generations. This has led to alarmingly high rates of loneliness and isolation.

BuddyHub builds intergenerational communities which include and value people of all ages to start turning the tide on this problem.

Who we are

We are a Community Interest Community, which means we are here to benefit the public.

What we do

We create new friendships to build better-connected and inclusive communities which benefit everyone involved.

Our mission

To alleviate loneliness and isolation through community connectivity.

Our vision

To create a world where anyone can make new friends, and no one needs to fear being lonely.

Our approach

We form a new social circle called a Friendship Wheel by carefully matching together four members who we think will click. At the heart of every Friendship Wheel, there is an older member whose circumstances or health situation is affecting their social life. All our members can also explore a diverse range of interests and meet more local people in our larger community friendship groups.

We use a very human touch and personalized approach to carefully match people based on location, interests and personality. We make it fun and flexible for everyone!

Our values

Connecting to Others

BuddyHub is all about creating healthy and lasting friendships regardless of your background and who you are. We encourage friendships that make you smile and laugh: in other words, having fun together! Listening and approaching each other with respect, openness, empathy and compassion is also at the core of what we do.

That’s what it’s all about: making friends and enjoying each other’s company.

Our Team

Catherine McClen, Founder and CEO

Catherine may come from the hard-nosed world of finance but she has a way of understanding others and the difficulties they go through. She became a young carer when her mother developed early onset dementia and this really opened her eyes to the threat of loneliness. She has also felt the impact of mental health and multiple bereavements in her family. These experiences, together with her six years of extensive voluntary work with marginalised groups, inspired her to start BuddyHub in 2014. The vision? To create a world where no one needs to fear being lonely.

Jamie van Dyke, CTO

Jamie is a highly accomplished software developer, infrastructure architect, trainer, and speaker. He has 20 years experience working with leading companies from startups to industry veterans, building web applications and infrastructure on varying platforms. He has worked with a diverse range of languages and frameworks and he is an enthusiast of Ruby, Ruby on Rails, AWS, and Kubernetes. In his spare time, Jamie has volunteered for the Community First Responders and set up his own business, helping those with addiction. He's also known to don his motorcycle gear and tootle out on the country roads from time to time with his biking buddies.

Gareth Simpson, Non-Executive Director

Gareth has 30 years experience in marketing and advertising in the UK and globally. He has worked with blue-chip companies and agencies such as P&G, HJ Heinz and Leo Burnett. In recent years, he has been using his skills to support smaller charities and social enterprises. Turning loneliness into happiness is a cause Gareth thinks is really worth fighting for, and it is particularly important to him because of the scale of the problem. Gareth brings his in-depth knowledge of how to take brands from local to national level and beyond to support our scaling plans.

Dr. Daniel Tilley, Principal Analytical Scientist and Data Advisor

Daniel has 20 years’ experience in the defence and security sectors. He has improved quantification of casualties for military operations, developed analytical capability to identify cyber-attacks and improved scientific communication through organising interest groups and conferences. Daniel holds Fellowships with the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications and the Operational Research Society. Daniel is also an alumnus of the 'The Royal Academy of Engineering's: SME Leaders Programme'. We first met Daniel through the OR Society. He enjoyed working with us so much, trusting our approach to combating loneliness, that he became an Advisor.

Naailah Jummun, Connector

Naailah has a background in Biomedical sciences but realised working in a laboratory just wasn’t for her! After taking a gap year to come to terms with a bereavement in her family, Naailah volunteered extensively, including as a patient befriender on dementia wards. These experiences attracted her to working at BuddyHub where she is in charge of making the best matches for our Members and Buddies. Work aside, Mauritius has a special place in her heart as she spent a lot of her childhood soaking up the sun and going to the beach there.

Sofia Pelucio, Operations and Marketing

Sofia has ten years of experience in communications. She worked in the largest pay-television provider in Latin America before pursuing her MA in Marketing Communications. Sofia has also worked for other startups in diverse industries such as marketing, tech, health, and education. At BuddyHub, she wears multiple hats and has been heavily involved in all aspects of customer relationship management. Sofia did such a great job when we first met her that we decided to hold on to her even after she swapped London for Brazil.

Frequently asked questions

Which areas do you cover?

We currently operate in the London boroughs of Islington, Hackney, Haringey and City of London. We will expand to Camden and Westminster soon. Next will be the whole of London before too long. We will expand to other areas, nationwide, over the next few years. 

What is BuddyHub’s social mission?

We create new intergenerational friendships to build better-connected communities. Though our core focus is to alleviate loneliness and isolation amongst older people, by supporting them to build up their personal network, everyone benefits from the friendships we create. 

Is BuddyHub a company or charity?

We are a social enterprise and C.I.C. (Community Interest Company), which means we exist to benefit the public first and foremost and reinvest the majority of any profits to further our social mission. 

Being a C.I.C. Ltd by Shares, rather than a charity, allows us to take on social investment to increase our organisational capacity by adding staff and developing our technology. All so we can grow and increase our impact. 

How does BuddyHub differ to traditional befriending schemes?

We are a match-making and introduction service building a community of intergenerational and supportive friends. Our Friendship Wheel approach is a fun and flexible way of making new friends and our larger groups, around members interests, provide more opportunities to build your personal network. BuddyHub is a membership community and everyone benefits from the friendships we create. Befriending schemes generally match an older person with one new friend and the relationships can be restricted and time bound. 

Why do members pay a monthly fee to join BuddyHub?

We are committed to building a sustainable social business to maximise the impact of our work. BuddyHub is a membership community and our aim is that each new local community we build will become wholly or largely self-sustaining over time whilst offering discounted fees and free places to older members on a low income. Ensuring BuddyHub has firm financial foundations and is not too reliant on scarce grant or public funding will enable us to keep the organisation running and achieve our vision. 

How do I contact BuddyHub?

  • Using our contact form: our contact form
  • By telephone: 07714118916 or 0203 6426871

How do I give BuddyHub a compliment or leave a comment?

Compliments always brighten up our day! We sincerely welcome and seek your comments and feedback in order to assist us in continually developing and improving our service. You can reach us:

How do I make a complaint?

The complaint should be made either:

We will acknowledge within ten working days the receipt of any complaint.

If the complaint is about the BuddyHub Connector the complaint should be addressed to the CEO, Catherine McClen (marked ‘confidential’) at [email protected] . At this, and any subsequent stage, the complainant may be accompanied or supported by a friend, but not a legal representative. We will investigate the circumstances leading to the complaint and will communicate the results within a reasonable time – normally within 20 working days. If the complaint is found to be justified, the CEO will agree to any necessary further action with the complainant.

What is BuddyHub's Code of Conduct

BuddyHub does not tolerate threatening, aggressive, violent or abusive behaviour (examples include threats, physical violence, personal verbal abuse, derogatory remarks and rudeness, inflammatory statements and unsubstantiated allegations) towards its community including staff and members, whether in-person, over the phone or online.

If this code is breached, we reserve the right to review your involvement with us and take further action as we see fit.