Online friendships

Looking for some company? Our Virtual Buddying programme is for people with disabilities looking for a friend.

About Virtual Buddying

We’ll match you with a volunteer with shared interests, sense of humour and personality. Then you’ll be able to call, video chat or write to each other once a week. You could catch up about your week, watch a film, do an online class, craft, game or bake together.

Sense's Virtual Buddying is for anyone aged 5 or over living in the UK who has a disability.

I really like my sessions, especially now I'm getting to do computers and develop my skills ….me and my buddy have a laugh

Virtual buddy

You can also refer someone to use our Virtual Buddying service if you think it will be helpful.

Group sessions

You can also be invited to attend our group sessions, regardless of whether you have a buddy already. Group sessions involve all kinds of fun things such as sensory stories, coffee tasting, disco dancing, magic workshops and so many more!

Well done! The match couldn't have been better! It is perfect we have so much in common, so much to talk about. It was a real boost

Virtual buddy

Any questions?

If you have any questions at all about Virtual Buddying, please get in touch

Weekly chats make all the difference

For Olivia’s Mum Rachel, the benefits of Sense Connect Virtual Buddying have been so clear and crucial for the entire family.

A unique genetic condition, so rare that only about three girls in the world are affected by it, causes Olivia to have low muscle tone and energy as well as some learning and communication difficulties.

When the lockdown was put into place, Olivia entered a bit of a honeymoon phase and loved being able to stay at home. But soon Olivia’s isolation grew. She became anxious, lethargic and started to pick her skin.

But now, the signs of isolation have decreased, and Rachel puts that down to the hour Olivia gets to spend with someone who isn’t her family and who is so closely matched to her.

Pairing up

In September, Olivia joined the Sense Virtual Buddying program and was quickly paired up with Yee Neng, a medical student from London. Neither know how well they were matched until about a month into their sessions.

Every Sunday morning, Yee would set up a video chat and the pair would spend an hour chatting or doing activities.

It took Olivia a while to feel comfortable with Yee. Olivia was happy being lead by Yee and take a more passive role in the sessions. Yee was incredibly patient and took her time to communicate clearly and gave Olivia time to acknowledge and respond.

Soon Olivia was feeling comfortable and looking forward to her weekly catch up’s with Yee.

‘Having somebody who is not a part of the family giving her dedicated time is such a gamechanger’ according to Rachel.

Yee knew that the sessions were going well when Olivia started to come up with her own ideas about what she wanted to do. Together, they baked cakes, watched movies and even had a dress-up karaoke session!

For those unsure about Virtual Buddying, Olivia is keen to let them know to ‘not worry, it’s fine and you’ll make good friends’.

Get in touch about Virtual Buddying
Contact details
e.g. video call