KIND-hearted residents are being sought to give up a small amount of their time to offer companionship to people who feel lonely or isolated.

Swindon Circles, which is run by the Community Health and Wellbeing team at Swindon Borough Council, aims to combat loneliness by pairing clients up with volunteer befrienders.

The scheme currently has 96 volunteers who support over 100 people across Swindon, but the team are always looking for more volunteers to join the project.

Swindon Circles is completely flexible for the volunteer as pairings are made based on the volunteer’s location and the time they have available. Hobbies are also considered so that volunteers can be paired up with someone who holds similar interests.

Volunteers tend to visit the person in their home, but some may also go out for the day together or chat over the phone.

Tony Hart, who regularly meets up with two clients as part of Swindon Circles, has formed lasting friendships with them both while also developing his own skills.

He said: “Seeing the pleasure and gratitude from both individuals on my weekly visits has built up my confidence and allowed me to branch out into other directions, such as teaching.

“Many of my friends and family have noticed what a positive difference becoming a volunteer has made to me as I now look forward to meeting new people thanks to my new found confidence.”

Another volunteer, Donna Maidment, added: “Volunteering has been an extremely positive experience for me as I’ve learnt so much and built a wonderful friendship with someone I would otherwise never have known. Our bond is so lovely and not only have I helped her, but she has also helped me.”

People wanting to find out more can attend one of many drop-in sessions which the team will be running over the next few days including:

Tuesday, January 23 from 12pm to 1.30pm at the Civic Offices, Thursday, January 25 from 5pm to 7pm at the Civic Offices, Friday, January 26 from 12pm –to 2pm in the Central Library, Monday, January 29 from 12pm to 2pm in the Central Library and lastly on Tuesday, January 30 from 3pm to 5pm in Coffee #1.

Coun Brian Ford, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults’ Health and Social Care, said: “Giving up just a short amount of time to help others offers a real sense of purpose and pride, while providing companionship to those who really appreciate it. Everyone involved with Swindon Circles reaps the benefits and I would encourage anyone who is considering becoming a volunteer to find out more about this rewarding scheme.”

For more information, call 01793 465513 or visit