Frequently Asked Questions
Being a CIC, rather than a charity, will allow us to take on the investment we need to grow our service as quickly as we can. Traditional befriending services typically rely on grants or donations and, therefore, reach only a tiny fraction of Seniors who could benefit from their service. We want BuddyHub to be the first national befriending type service in order to reach as many Seniors as possible. To enable that we need to build out our technology platform to harness the power of digital efficiency to lower the cost of our service. We also need to increase our organizational capacity by increasing our staff. All this requires investment.
Many social enterprises fail after around 3 years because they are too reliant on grant funding. We are committed to building a sustainable social business dedicated to achieving our mission of helping older people live well as they age. Ensuring BuddyHub has firm financial foundations will enable us to realise our vision of a world where no one needs to fear growing older.
We know that Seniors do not wish to be patronised which is all too common in our ageist society. Also, we find Seniors do not wish to be thought of as being in need of charity. Seniors pay a membership fee to join BuddyHub which empowers them as our customers and fits well with our core value of respect.
We offer affordable membership fees of £7 per week (paid monthly). To be inclusive membership fees vary according to a Senior’s ability to pay. Seniors on means-tested benefits (without a family member who can cover their membership fee) pay £2 per week and receive the same benefits and features as those paying the full amount. Some Seniors may have their service fee covered by a contract with a third party such as Adult Social Care or a CCG. In this case, the third party may specify which Seniors are to be offered the service via their referral routes.
BuddyHub works on the same principle as charities who operate theatres and sell variable priced (but not free) tickets, some of which are heavily subsidised by Arts Council grants and supporter donations. This enables them to recover all the VAT on their costs. The Friendship Wheel service fees are VAT taxable. To enable us to recover all the VAT incurred on the associated costs of running the service, reducing our overall costs, we cannot offer the service for free.
- Via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- By telephone: 0203 6426871
We also sincerely welcome and seek your comments in order to assist us in continually developing and improving our service. Send us a compliment or comment using one of these methods:
- Email: Send a quick email to email@example.com with the subject “Comments for BuddyHub” or “Compliments for BuddyHub”.
- Post: Write us a letter and send it to our office at: BuddyHub, 18-20 London Lane, Hackney, London E8 3PR
- Via Email: Send an email to the BuddyHub Connector: firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Complaint for BuddyHub”.
- Through Post. Write us a letter and send it to our office at: BuddyHub, 18-20 London Lane, Hackney, London E8 3PR
- By telephone: call 0203 6426871.
- In person
The Connector 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’) through the post or by email: email@example.com . 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 of the investigation to the complainant within a reasonable time – normally within 20 working days of the complaint being received. If the complaint is found to be justified, the CEO will agree any necessary further action with the complainant.
If you are not happy with the service you have received, you are encouraged to raise a complaint with us. If you would like to make a complaint, please refer to our complaints procedure, which can be found in this sectionthe ‘General’ FAQ section.
We ask that you raise your concerns in a calm, non-threatening manner and we will try to resolve the issue as best as we can.
BuddyHub will 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 staff, Buddies or members, whether in-person or over the phone.
If this code is breached, we reserve the right to review your membership and take further action as we see fit. Depending on the severity of the breach, we may pause or cancel your membership permanently.
The friendships we create are the long-term kind, the best kind. That’s why we encourage Buddies to only volunteer if they can commit to at least year. It’s better for everyone all round.
Oh … and one more thing. We ask you to cover the cost of your DBS certificate (£13.50). But this is valid for three years and it could come in handy if you choose to volunteer elsewhere.
- Be over 18 years old
- Have an Enhanced DBS certificate that checks the Adults’ Barred list or apply for one (£13.50) through the Buddy Dashboard.
- Provide 2 character references.
- Have a passion or interest in helping to alleviate loneliness in your community.
BuddyHub creates a new social circle for a lonely or isolated older person by connecting them to Buddies who live pretty close to them in their wider community. For that reason, we only accept Buddies that live within a 30-minute walk from our Seniors.
If we aren’t in your area you can subscribe to our newsletter here: https://www.buddyhub.co.uk/ to get updates on our activity and news of our expansion into other areas (hopefully the next one will be yours!)
An enhanced check that checks the Adults’ Barred list shows the same as an enhanced check plus whether the applicant is on the list of people barred from working with vulnerable adults.
- 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.”
- 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 your Enhanced DBS on the Buddy Dashboard.
- 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.
To check which nearby post office can verify your documents, please use the post office branch finder HERE and select the optional “DBS ID Validation Service”.
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.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.
The focus will be on your attitude, personal characteristics, skills and qualities. These could include honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, communication skills, reliability and general personality.
It’s rather simple and takes less than 5 minutes for them to complete.
While we are waiting on the outcome of your DBS application why not tell us more about your interests and passions on your Buddy Dashboard? We really encourage all our Buddies to write a few things in some of the boxes. This will add colour to your profile making it easier to find the best match for you.
We must advise that being a Buddy is a flexible volunteering opportunity, therefore there may be certain times when a Buddy is less available than normal. However, another one of your Buddies may be available to visit during that time instead.
All of our Seniors are aged 55+, but we do not have an age limit. You could be 55 or 105, we will be happy to have you as one of our Seniors.
- Register with us. Just go back to our home page and click the orange “Become a BuddyHub Senior” button to get started.
- Fill out all the information on your Senior Dashboard and select a time to meet us.
- Meet our BuddyHub Connector. We meet all of our Buddies and Seniors. This added personal touch helps with the matching process (plus we enjoy meeting everyone in our BuddyHub community).
- Put your feet up while BuddyHub works its magic. We’ll match you with your first vetted Buddy within a month or two.
- You meet your first Buddy. We will arrange this introduction and often come along to make sure it all goes smoothly. Or, if you want to take things slowly, you can chat on the phone first.
- Add others. Your next Buddies joins your Friendship Wheel. Ideally within a month or two. But only if you’re ready, of course.
- Pick and choose what you do. We leave that part to you and your Buddies.
Many Social Enterprises fail after around 3 years because they have relied on grant funding and do not develop a sustainable business model. We’re determined to build BudddyHub C.I.C on firm financial foundations so we achieve our mission of helping older people live well as they age and our vision of creating a world where no one needs to fear growing older.
We know that Seniors do not wish to be patronised which is all too common in our ageist society: we found Seniors did not wish to be thought of as being in need of charity. Seniors pay a membership fee to join BuddyHub which empowers them as our customers and fits well with our core value of respect.
However, we want to inclusive so our prices vary according to a Senior’s ability to pay for our service. Seniors pay a membership fee of £7 per week falling to £2 per week for those on means-tested benefits (paid monthly). Seniors paying the discounted fee receive the same benefits and features as those paying the full amount. Some Seniors may have their service fee covered by a contract with a third party such as Adult Social Care or a CCG. In this case, the third party may specify which Seniors are to be offered the service via their referral routes.
BuddyHub works on the same principle as charities that operate theatres selling variable priced (but not free) tickets some of which are heavily subsidised by Arts Council grants and support donations. This enables them to recover all the VAT on their costs. The Friendship Wheel service fees are VAT taxable. To enable us to recover all the VAT incurred on the associated costs of running the service, reducing our overall costs, we cannot offer the service for free.
We need to raise the difference between the service cost of £7 per week and the discounted rate of £2 per week for low income Seniors. We hope to raise this subsidy via donations from our community and other supporters and via grants. How much we raise in this way will determine how many Friendship Wheels we can provide for lower income Seniors.