Who’s it for?
Virtual Buddying is open to people with disabilities of all ages in the UK. If you don’t have a disability but want to join, you might want to learn about becoming a volunteer. Sense will support you every step of the way and it’s a fantastic way to make friends online.
Make a friend online
Sense Virtual Buddying is for people with disabilities of any age in the UK. Chat online or on the phone with your Buddy once a week from the comfort of your home.
Someone to talk to
Chat to someone you can trust outside your family and have something to look forward to each week.
Share interests and hobbies
Choose what you’d like to do together. That could be baking, discussing politics, watching films or just having a chat.
Build your confidence
Learn new skills that interest you, like playing guitar or cooking.
How it works
We understand that it’s not always easy making new friends. That’s why we get to know you, so we can match you with the right person.
- Fill in the form above.
- One of our team will be in touch to arrange a good time to find out more about your interests and hobbies.
- We’ll match you with a volunteer who is similar in age, personality and who shares your interests.
- We’ll introduce you to your new Buddy, and be with you during your first sessions together.
- Call or video chat your new Buddy for 45 minutes once a week, when it suits you.
We’ll then check in with you regularly to see how you and your Buddy are getting on.
Got a question? Check our list of common questions and answers.
How Sense will support you
We can arrange the activities you’d like to try and send you free activity packs in the post.
Help with IT
We can provide iPads and help you and your buddy work out the best way to chat.
Monthly group activities
You and your Buddy can join monthly group sessions to meet other people.
Support for your family
The wellbeing of your family is important to us too.
Virtual Buddying Stories
If you have any questions about the Sense Virtual Buddying service, do get in touch. Or check our list of common questions and answers:
Can I access Sense Virtual Buddying if I don’t access any other Sense service?
Yes you can! Sense Virtual Buddying is available for anyone with a disability – it doesn’t matter if you use any of our services already.
Can my sibling/family come on sessions with me?
Virtual Buddy sessions are most successful when it’s a chat between two people. We’d prefer for other people not to join the call, unless they are supporting any communication needs.
Who can take part in Sense Virtual Buddying?
Sense Virtual Buddying is for anyone aged 5 and over with a disability.
How long will it take to find me a Buddy?
We always take our time to make sure you are matched with the right person, so this is a difficult question to answer! We might have someone straight away, or it might take us longer. Whatever happens, we’ll keep you updated until you have your Buddy.
How long does it last?
You can involved for however long you find it useful. We expect Buddies to have a catch-up once a week, but you decide when is most convenient. Keep communicating your plans clearly with your Buddy and the team.
Does Sense Virtual Buddying cost anything?
Sense Virtual Buddying is completely free.
How do you decide who my volunteer Buddy will be?
Volunteers apply all the time, and we make sure we have a good understanding of their interests, their personality and their skills. Then we compare these to what you’ve told us about yourself. We’re really proud of all our matches that have been successful.
What happens on sessions with my Buddy??
Entirely up to you. You can talk about the weather, learn guitar, have a coffee, play games – or anything else you two can think of! We can suggest ideas and send activity packs if you need inspiration.
How can I access Sense Virtual Buddying if I don’t have a laptop/phone/tablet/wifi?
Sense can provide the equipment you need, including data allowances for those without wifi. Do get in touch if you’d like more information.
Are there opportunities to meet other people?
Yes. We do hold group sessions, where we get lots of people together on a call. Pandemic permitting, we also arrange in person group meet ups, if possible.
What is special about the service?
Sense Virtual Buddying is the only free nationwide service dedicated exclusively to helping disabled people make friends online.
When the pandemic started, we realised that many people with disabilities were stuck indoors, unable to meet new people – that’s when Sense Virtual Buddying was born.
Even as restrictions on movement have changed, there’s still been a huge demand for the service because it fits in with everyone’s busy lives. Plus, who doesn’t like having a new friend?