Virtual Buddying befriending service

  • Gain confidence

  • Paint mark illustration of two people high fiving

    Make new friends and connections

  • Learn new skills together

A young man in a white poloshirt leaning on a table

“I’ve experienced loneliness, but thanks to the Buddying scheme I feel less isolated.”

Saihan, one of Sense’s Virtual Buddies – read his full story here

How it works

A boy smiles at his laptop as he makes a recipe in a bowl. On the laptop, his Buddy is smiling back as she helps him make the recipe

It’s really simple to get started.

  1. Give us your details and we’ll send you an application.
  2. One of our team will be in touch to learn more about you and your interests.
  3. We’ll match you with a volunteer who shares your interests.
  4. We’ll introduce you to your new buddy!

We’ll check in with you regularly to see how you and your buddy are getting on.

A young girl looks at her phone, smiling with her virtual buddy during an in-person meet up

“Olivia loves Bethany to pieces and says they’re best friends.”

Sam, whose daughter Olivia is one of our Sense Virtual Buddies – read her full story here

How Sense will support you

  • Arranging activities
    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.

  • White paintbrush marks of two people with orange background

    Ongoing support
    We’ll check in with you regularly to see how you and your Buddy are getting on.

  • Support for your family
    The wellbeing of your family is important to us too. Check out our Siblings and Young Carers service.

A woman smiles from the screen of a laptop

Who’s it for?

Sense Virtual Buddying is open to disabled people aged 5 and over in the UK.

Not you? Why not become one of our amazing volunteers? Sense will support you every step of the way and it’s a fantastic way to make friends online. Learn more

Any questions?

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?

Sense Virtual Buddying 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.

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 be 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.

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 personality and interests. We use this information to match you, based on 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?

It’s 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.

A young boy plays piano during one of his virtual buddying sessions

“It’s been really fun exploring Chapman’s interests, doing completely new things like baking and maths games.”

Gabriella, who volunteers with Chapman, one of our Sense Buddies – read their full story here

Support from Sense

We’re the national disability charity supporting everyone who is deafblind or has complex disabilities. We’re here for people of all ages and their families. If you need more information and advice about the services we provide, you can find out more here.