Be part of our intergenerational community

Are you the caring and curious type? Do you like sharing your interests or exchanging stories? Perhaps you simply want to feel more connected to your community…

Our intergenerational community is built upon kindness and being inclusive. Everyone looks out for each other, so you're more likely to feel supported. That's what it's all about: making friends and enjoying each other's company.

Is BuddyHub in my area?

Find out now!

How it works

We form a new social circle called a Friendship Wheel by carefully matching together four members of different ages who we think will click. They all share common interests or experiences and live close by.

At the heart of every Friendship Wheel, there is an older member whose circumstances or health situation is affecting their social life. To ensure vulnerable adults are protected we vet members who join their Friendship Wheel.

What you do and when you meet is up to you! We encourage fun and adventure at every opportunity but don't feel like you have to pick a wacky new activity every time. It might be strolling around a museum or just having a chat in front of the TV.

You can also join our larger groups to explore a diverse range of interests and meet more local people -- you have a say in the groups we form!

Members help to grow and sustain their community and everyone benefits from the friendships created.

What our members say

I am 76 and I am a carer for my husband, who had a stroke which took away his speech. I joined BuddyHub a year ago because I thought it would be a good way to meet new people and have a chat about things. When I met my first Buddy I was surprised at how young she is, I wasn’t sure it would work. But everything has gone really well. I have three Buddies now and I am so glad I joined.

Jane, Member

Following my father’s passing, mum retreated further into her own company. The Buddies have shown a genuine interest in getting to know mum, even taking her out to the cinema. She genuinely looks forward to their regular visits and it gives me considerable peace of mind to know she is having some social interaction outside of the narrow confines of her two children. I think this is an excellent programme that has filled a definite hole in mums life.

Talina, Member's daughter and Friendship Wheel Sponsor

Joining BuddyHub

BuddyHub is a paid membership community which enables us to be sustainable. Our fees cover the costs of onboarding you into our community, our vetting process (depending on your role) and ongoing support.

  • Joining fee: £16

  • Membership fee: £8 per month

  • We offer a 50% discount to older members in receipt of a means tested benefit.

  • Ready to join our community?

What's next?

Frequently asked questions

I do not live in one of your operating areas but I really want to become part of the BuddyHub community, should I still apply?

Thanks for your interest in joining us! Our communities are divided geographically, so we can create a new intergenerational group of friends who live locally and can support each other. For that reason, we only accept members in our operating areas.

If we aren’t in your area you can subscribe to our newsletter to get updates on our activity and news of our expansion into other areas (hopefully the next one will be yours!). You can also get involved by becoming a Community Sponsor. 

To complete my GBG application, which documents can I choose for verification?

For more information on the documents you can choose for verification, please see GBG’s ID Verification guide available here.

What will you ask my referees?

We will send them an email with a 5-minute survey for them to complete. It’s rather simple!

The focus will be on your attitude, personal characteristics, skills and qualities. These could include honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, communication skills, reliability and general personality.

What is an Enhanced DBS that checks the Adults’ Barred List?

Some older members of our community are vulnerable adults or ‘adults as risk’.  The members we match them with undergo a vetting process. An enhanced check shows spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings (as in a standard check). However, an enhanced DBS that checks the Adults’ Barred list also shows any information held by local police that’s considered relevant to working with vulnerable adults.

Why do I need an Enhanced DBS certificate that checks the Adults’ Barred List?

Some older members of our community are vulnerable adults or ‘adults at risk’. We want the vetted members we match them with to be free to offer practical support. Helping with shopping, paying a bill, or any other aspect relating to a general household matter, even once, requires an Enhanced DBS disclosure check because these are regulated activities. The pandemic has underlined the importance of this support. 

The barred lists enable the DBS to keep a record of people who are not permitted to work in a regulated activity with children and/or vulnerable adults. It's a criminal offence for a person to work with a group from which they have been barred from working. 

I have a DBS certificate - do you accept it?

Yes, if your DBS certificate meets these requirements:

  1. It is an Enhanced Certificate. At the bottom of the first page of your certificate it should read: “Enhanced Certificate. This document is an Enhanced Criminal Record Certificate within the meaning of sections 113B and 116 of the Police Act 1997.”
  2. It checks the Adults’ Barred List. On the first page of your certificate: if your certificate reads “Not Requested” under “DBS Adults’ Barred List Information” this means that it does not check the Adults’ Barred List” and you will have to apply for an Enhanced DBS certificate through BuddyHub.
It has been issued within the last 2 years. The date of issue will show on the top right of the first page of your DBS Certificate.

Why don’t you accept my existing certificate from another organisation?

We will not accept if it doesn’t meet our above criteria. 

If it’s a Standard DBS, this organisation must have restricted your befriending role to non-regulated activities so you couldn’t offer support such as going shopping or paying a bill for example. Our members are free to carry out regulated activities to support the older members in their Friendship Wheel. You can apply for a new enhanced DBS certificate, which checks the adults barred list, through BuddyHub.

If it’s an Enhanced DBS certificate, it has not been checked against the adults barred list. This organisation must have allowed you to engage in a regulated activity but restricted your role to volunteering with people who are not vulnerable adults. Our olders members are vulnerable adults or ‘adults at risk’ to a greater or lesser degree.

Who pays for activities?

We’re all about independence, so you should pay for yourselves. We don’t advise lending money to one another as this can complicate matters, but if it’s an “I’ll pay this time, you get the next one” arrangement then go ahead.  

How often will the meet ups happen?

This is a flexible arrangement to be agreed between you! However, we ask that everyone visits the older member at the heart of their Friendship Wheel at least once every three weeks. If something comes up and you are not able to meet, hopefully another member can step in for you. This is the idea of having a supportive group. 

Who pays for activities?

We’re all about independence, so you should pay for yourselves. We don’t advise lending money to one another as this can complicate matters, but if it’s an “I’ll pay this time, you get the next one” arrangement then go ahead.

23. What is a member sponsor?

It is a family member, friend or neighbour that is involved with an vulnerable older member’s Friendship Wheel. They can support practically with registration and arranging meetings or financially by paying for the membership fee. Together, we will work out how they will get involved and what level of engagement they would like to have. 

Who is responsible for managing the Friendship Wheel?

We want everyone to enjoy the magic of making new friends. That’s why we put you in the driving seat and ask you to keep in contact with each other. If you have any issues, your BuddyHub Connector will always be here for support.

I do not live in your areas of operation but I work there, is this accepted?

You need to live within our areas of operation as we create new intergenerational friendships between people who live in the same community. 

We find that it doesn’t work as well when there is a longer distance between members. By living closer, you can spend more quality time together which is what it’s all about. 

How will meet-ups be organised?

At the heart of each Friendship Wheel is an older member whose health or life circumstance is affecting their social life. We add the other members (all vetted) one by one until we have a new social circle of four.  Our Connector will schedule a meeting to introduce the first two members. After the initial introduction, the two of you will decide together when and where to meet next and start getting to know each other better. The other members are added one at a time and we ask the last member who joined to do the introductions to the older member.

What will we be doing together?

It’s up to you! We encourage fun and adventure at every opportunity but don’t feel like you have to pick a wacky new activity every week. There’s nothing wrong with having a catch up over a cuppa from time to time.

What happens if I don’t click with the people in my Friendship Wheel?

We do try to make the best matches possible, based on likes and interests. But chemistry is a funny old thing and we can’t get it right every time - though mostly we do! After joining BuddyHub, we stay in touch to ensure that you are comfortable and enjoying the company of your new friends. If not, we’ll do something about it.

What happens if someone has to leave the Friendship Wheel?

We will manage this, inform everyone and do our best to swiftly find a replacement.

I’ve made the decision to join BuddyHub. What happens next?

  1. Register with us: Provide us with a few details via our member contact form so we can get in touch. 
  2. Joining us: we assess your role in your Friendship Wheel and the groups you might like to join. At the heart of every Friendship Wheel is an older member whose circumstances or health situation is affecting their social life. If that’s not you, we will take your through our vetting process.
  3. Explore our community groups: You have the opportunity to join our larger groups of 9-15 people based on your interests, hobbies and passions. You have a say in what groups we create!
  4. Your Welcome Chat: We meet all of our members. This added personal touch helps with the matching process (plus we enjoy meeting everyone in our BuddyHub community!). Your Welcome Chat will be done at our offices or at an arranged location (like a café) unless you are an older member who can’t leave the house. In that case, we come to you. 
  5. Join a Friendship Wheel: We work our magic and carefully match you to other members as we build up a social circle of four people. Each has an older member at its heart. You can go to events, do activities or just enjoy each other’s company. You can flexibly pick and choose what you do - we leave that part to you! 

Is there an age limit for being involved?

Yes, everyone in our community must be over 18. Adults of any age are welcome to join.

Why do members pay a monthly membership 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. 

What is the BuddyHub vetting process and who needs to undergo it?

Some older members of our community are vulnerable adults or ‘adults at risk’ whose circumstances or health situation are affecting their social life. The members we match them with undergo a vetting process. Vetted members will need: 

  1. Two character references;
  2. An Enhanced DBS certificate that checks the Adults’ Barred list or apply for one with us.

What is a character reference and who should I choose as my referee?

A character reference is a brief assessment of you as a person based on the view of someone who knows you well (and ideally for at least two years).

References should be objective and impartial so you shouldn’t ask a near relative or people you are barely acquainted with. Good referees are people who have been relatively close to you: teachers, mentors, neighbours, family friends, colleagues, a job centre contact (if you’ve been unemployed).

If you’ve taken part in volunteer schemes or clubs and societies, these are excellent sources. If you cannot easily nominate someone like this, we will usually accept references from friends who have known you for at least two years. Unless you’ve worked with someone for many years, an employer isn’t usually suitable for a character reference because the aim is to get a picture of you as a person rather than as an employee.

How will meet-ups be organised?

First we will introduce you to your Member. We will schedule an intro meeting for you that will be done by your Connector, if you are the first Buddy joining the Friendship Wheel, or by the last Buddy who joined. This will help break the ice and make it run smoothly. 

After this initial introduction, you can decide together with your Member the best days and times for visits. Also, always remember to let BuddyHub and the other Buddies know the meet-up schedule via the messaging app Telegram. It's better to discuss this between yourselves as well as any potential stumbling blocks, such as work or study. Things change though, and if they do then please give the other person a little notice. 

How do I apply for an Enhanced DBS certificate?

If you do not have a valid one, you can apply through BuddyHub. Once you register with us and we have assessed you need one, we will send you further instructions on how to apply through GBG.

How will I verify my documents for my DBS check?

After you have nominated your documents on the GBG website, you will need to verify them at the post office. This should only take a few minutes and you can choose one close to you by entering your postcode and selecting the option ‘CRB & ID Verification Service’ here.

I’ve chosen my verification documents but I need to change these/amend my DBS application. How do I do this?

No problem. You just have to log back into your GBG account and choose the “Amend” button. Keep in mind that if you amend your application you will need to print a new ID Verification Service Letter to take to the post office. 

I’ve verified my documents and my references have been approved. What happens next?

Great job! Just sit back and relax. GBG will notify us of the outcome of your DBS application so you will not need to lift a finger. Once your DBS has been approved, we will notify you and you will be able to book your Welcome Chat.

What will we be doing together?

It’s up to you both. We encourage fun and adventure at every opportunity but don’t feel like you have to pick a wacky new activity every week. There’s nothing wrong with having a catch up over a cuppa from time to time.