Cyril Flint Befrienders compete to win £25,000 to combat loneliness!

Each year the Aviva Community Fund sets different categories of funding pots and invites worthy causes to apply for grants of up to £25,000. The way the competition works is that all projects are shortlisted solely by public vote, and the voting is currently open to the public until 20th November.

We have applied for £25,000 to help towards our running costs to enable us to continue operating and carry on helping lonely and/or isolated older people across Greater Manchester.

Each year we aim to create 100 new friendships, as well as continuing to support all of our existing befrienders and befriendees, we also arrange special events to encourage the older people we befriend to come out and experience something different – this year we’ve had afternoon tea’s with live acoustic performances; magicians and other live entertainment and have introduced monthly Cuppa and Company events. Want to know more? Listen to what Maureen has to say about having a befriender here.

In our latest review:

100% said they were happy with our service and would recommend it to others!

93% felt less lonely because they have a befriender.

77% felt less isolated because they have a befriender.

Here’s how you can vote for us and help us secure those vital funds to keep helping those who really need a friend:

There is also a new option this year whereby you can click through to our Crowdfunding page and make a pledge of support. All donations large and small will go a long way towards helping us secure enough funding to continue our work in Greater Manchester.

Thank you for your support!


We’re hiring! New Community Fundraiser position

Layout 1Cyril Flint Befrienders

With over 5 million elderly people living on their own, and around two fifths (around 3.9 million) of all older people citing television as their main source of company, loneliness is an ever-present problem within our community (Campaign To End Loneliness).

Cyril Flint, an elderly pensioner living on his own in the Trafford area, was a classic example of one such individual. Having spent 20 lonely Christmas holidays on his own, since the passing of his wife, Cyril’s story not only evoked a wave of compassion within the community, but it also made us want to do something to help. Setting up an informal befriending service, designed to help prevent social isolation, seemed like the perfect solution. Since its creation, our scheme has grown throughout the Greater Manchester area and we are now a registered charity with an increasing number of active volunteers throughout the community.

Cyril Flint Befrienders is an established befriending service that currently covers Trafford and South Manchester areas. We rely on Volunteers to spend an hour a week to visit a person (usually in their own home) befriending a person on a regular one-to-one basis. This may be someone who lives alone who has little or no contact from friends and family with limited community support. Knowing someone is popping in once a week can make a huge difference, not just to relieve their loneliness and isolation but also to boost the older person’s self-esteem and confidence and give them something to look forward to on a weekly basis.

Community Fundraising

We are looking for a pro-active individual with community fundraising and volunteer management experience to join us as a Part-Time Community Fundraiser, helping us to maximise local fundraising activities and increase fundraising income for the Charity. You’ll be responsible for helping to raise the profile of the charity and attracting new loyal and regular supporters.


  • To raise funds for Cyril Flint Befrienders to help us continue our work. This can be from a wide range of community based activities including local events, local businesses and other sources.
  • To foster excellent working relationships with both internal and external partners to support the successful achievement of the community fundraising strategy.
  • To promote the work of the charity and raise awareness of it in the local community, including developing presentations, giving talks, organising information stands and arranging charity displays.
  • To develop existing fundraising activities of the charity, expanding on our current fundraising strategy to maximise income.
  • To initiate new fundraising events throughout the year, raising awareness and income for the charity.
  • To acquire new supporters, inspiring new individuals, businesses and local schools and groups, to raise money for the charity.
  • To lead in recruitment of fundraising volunteers and their management.
  • To ensure effective promotion and marketing of volunteer fundraiser opportunities across the Trafford area, through online advertisements, posters, attending fairs and events and by any other suitable means.
  • To assess initial volunteer applications and complete telephone interviews with prospective volunteers.
  • To ensure a comprehensive and up to date file is kept, both hard copy and online, for each volunteer.
  • Be able to work flexibly with regards to working patterns as evening and weekend work will be required on occasion as part of the role.

Person Specification

Skills/abilities (desirable)

  • be a team player
  • be pro-active and resilient
  • able to organise and manage a busy workload
  • have excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • able to negotiate with confidence to influence a wide range of individuals
  • able to maintain good working relationships with people
  • have good IT skills
  • have a creative and innovative approach to fundraising

Experience (desirable)

  • experience having worked in a community or events fundraising role
  • experience in marketing, PR, events
  • experience of recruiting or managing volunteers
  • experience of raising funds in a community setting
  • experience of working to targets, plans or budgets
  • experience of communicating with a wide range of audiences
  • experience with local press/media
  • experience using social media to organise events/fundraise

Other requirements (essential)

  • a full driving license
  • access to vehicle
  • able to work evenings and weekends as required

Please note that this list is not exhaustive and as Community Fundraiser, there is the expectation that you will perform duties which are necessary to the on-going success of the Charity.

Working hours

20 hours per week (flexible pattern)

Office location



£22,000 pro rata

Closing date

12 noon Friday 21st September


To be held Thursday 4th and Friday 5th October at our Head Office in Didsbury.

Application Form: Application pack form

Email to:

Help us combat loneliness in Cumbria!

Meet Leanne

31727735_202608683875990_1167142884353245184_nHi, I’m the Registered Care Manager for the Human Support Group in Cumbria. The company provides domiciliary care to older residents and myself and my carers are able to see first-hand how truly lonely some of the local residents are. Although our care staff are able to build up a great rapport with many of our clients, it isn’t the same experience for them as having a friend come to visit, there are tasks that need completing and a schedule to keep to.

Myself and my care team are passionate about raising £10,000 to help start up a befriending scheme in Cumbria. We’ve visited the Manchester branch of Cyril Flint and seen the incredible impact befrienders are having on local people’s lives. We’re keen to bring members of the community together in Cumbria to try to help combat the issue of loneliness and isolation. If you want to support us you can donate here:

Or contact Leanne on if you want to find out more about getting involved in our mission to raise £10,000!

How is loneliness impacting the older people in Cumbria

In Cumbria, there are more than 205,700 households across the county with residents aged 50+ years, accounting for 42{9425248cd8fc5ef5e752376c6388647101a2c7cb92553362a97a1da2cabec2b0} of all households in the county. Of those households almost 1 in 4 are people living alone[1]. This amounts to 32,000 pensioners that are living alone and are potentially feeling lonely and socially isolated. Half live in rural areas with limited access to transport and services, which can make their solitary existence unbearable. As a domiciliary care company, this is something our carers see on a daily basis. Unfortunately, having conversations and building up relationships with care givers, is still not enough to help ward away older people’s feelings of loneliness and isolation; what they are truly in need of is friendship.

We can all appreciate that loneliness is an upsetting feeling, but did you know that loneliness has a huge impact on a person’s physical and mental wellbeing? Indeed research has found that being lonely is more dangerous to our health than obesity, can be as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day[2] and can lead to earlier onset of dementia, as well as being linked to causes of depression and cognitive decline[3]. What is so upsetting about this is that loneliness is something we can solve. If we come together as a community and all dedicate just a short amount of time, such as an hour a week, we can truly help transform a lonely person’s life.

This is exactly what the charity Cyril Flint Befrienders is doing. They are reducing social isolation and loneliness in older people in Greater Manchester by bringing communities together. They recruit, train and DBS check volunteers from the local community and match them up with an older person who lives nearby. The volunteer then visits the older person for an hour a week, providing them with that much needed friendship they desire.

The benefits from befriending are incredible, not only do older people report reduced feelings of isolation and loneliness, they advise that their self-esteem and confidence is improved by having someone who visits out of choice, rather than a paid professional. They also advise that the feelings last much longer than the one hour visit, as they can think over the conversations afterwards, talk about it with others and look forward to their next visit. They also feel connected to the community again as they have a local friend, so even if they themselves are housebound, they can feel involved via their befriender.

We feel that having such a provision will be invaluable in Cumbria and will really help transform older people’s lives. The directors of The Human Support Group set up the charity in Greater Manchester and have agreed to provide support for a new branch to be set up in Cumbria, upon us successfully raising £10,000 to contribute towards start-up costs.

From 1st May, myself and the team at Homecare Support across Cumbria will be working tirelessly to raise the £10,000 target! We will keep you posted on events and challenges planned. We’re looking for local businesses and people to help us reach our target, so please get in touch if you want to get involved!

In the meantime, please dig deep and donate to this great cause and help us reach our target by 30th April 2019!

Thank you for your support,




[1] Cumbria County Council, Social Isolation and Loneliness paper 2015

[2] Age UK 2015

[3] Campaign to End Loneliness

Marc Riley – Cyril Flint’s new Patron

Cyril Flint Befrienders Welcomes Marc Riley as Patron

‘I first became aware of Cyril in the November of 2011. I trundled off into the kitchen only to find my wife Trace sat at the table, reading the local paper, in what I can only describe as a ‘heap’. Now knowing my Trace it could well have been a story about a local Staffordshire Bull Terrier that went missing at Sale Water Park…but it wasn’t…it was something much more in need of urgent attention than that. Trace was reading the story of a local man called Cyril Flint who was lonely and was once again (not) looking forward to another Christmas dinner on his own. The appeal had been instigated by one of the bosses, Dan O’Donoghue of the Human Support Group that provided Cyril with daily home care.

Thankfully Cyril’s plight struck as much of a chord with hundreds of other people as it did with Trace and I… and he was inundated with offers. The response to the article led to Dan recognising there were not only people out there who were lonely and needed companionship, but there were also people who were desperate to help. So the ‘Cyril Flint Befriender’ charity began. Almost seven years later I find my wife Trace is now one of the volunteers and has struck up a firm friendship with her new best mate Beryl (a fellow Man City supporter)…and I the Patron of this brilliant organisation. If life proves to be kind enough to you and I, we will eventually reach an old age. If we are very fortunate we will have a circle of loved ones and friends who will be there for companionship. Try to imagine having no-one to share your thoughts and laughs with, or your woes, it doesn’t bear thinking about. That’s why when Dan asked me to be the Patron for his befriending charity I replied “It’d be an honour”. And indeed it is.

If you’ve ever heard one of my radio broadcasts over the last 28 years, well (1) Sorry… and (2) you will know that I’m not an overly serious character. I choose to laugh my way through life wherever possible, and aided by Cyril Flint’s memory you might well be able to help create much of the same joy for not only yourself but also someone else desperately in need of some happiness in their lives.

Thankfully there appears to be a healthy number of good people out there who want to spend some of their downtime in the company of a lonely older person. Less plentiful though are the funds to help organise and administrate this army of kindness. If you would like to donate to Cyril’s charity then thank you… you can do so by clicking here. If you’d like to be ‘hands-on’ but don’t live in the South Manchester area and simple geography stands in your way then maybe you could organise a fund-raising event? A pub quiz? A coffee-morning? A welly-throwing tournament? Anything apart from a ‘Throw a DJ in a lake’ competition really! Whatever you can do to help could well prove to be a life-saver for a lonely person who has little or no joy in their life.

Thanks for your time.’

Marc RileyX BBC 6 Music.

Photo of Marc supplied by Michael Powell.

If you are interested in fundraising for Cyril Flint Befrienders or want to find out more about fundraising options, please contact: Alex Neil: 

Marc Riley Needs You

Pub Quiz Night

If you are interested in hosting your own quiz night to raise funds for Cyril Flint Befrienders, get in touch for a free Quiz Pack, including a special Music round written by me! All enquiries should be sent to Alex Neil: 

Discounted Will writing offer for friends of Cyril Flint Befrienders

Legacies are vital to our very survival, a fact that most of our supporters don’t realise. To raise some much needed awareness, we’ve joined forces with Remember A Charity, the largest consortium of its kind in the UK working to promote legacy giving.

We have been fortunate enough to have been remembered in people’s wills in previous years, by those who have felt moved by the work Cyril Flint Befrienders does in the local community to combat loneliness. We wanted to raise awareness of how much we appreciate this generosity and how important on-going financial support is to keep the charity running.

With 35%* of people saying they would consider including a gift to charity after providing for their family and friends in their will, and only 7%* doing so, there is huge potential to increase income from legacies. We are proud to be working with Remember A Charity to make this a reality.

As part of our membership we have linked with Co-operative Legal Services who have agreed to complete a single standard will for anyone leaving a gift to Cyril Flint Volunteers for just £99 (plus VAT), inclusive of a £30 discount. The Co-Operative Legal team can take instructions over the telephone, so you can sort your will with ease from the comfort of your own home.

For more information visit or contact


Supported Volunteering in action

Looking around our regular supported volunteering session last week and we couldn’t help but beam with pride.

Some of the group were busy writing CV’s with a member of our team, others were having a brew and chatting about how they never really got out before they joined the group. Part of the session was spent signing up for a 4 week learning course due to start the next week. Plans were made to do a group visit to a nursing home the following week.

This truly was supported volunteering in action, where a little extra help is provided to people who want to become volunteers but who might need some support along the way.  Whether you have barriers to overcome, need a confidence boost or just a push in the right direction, we will do our best to help. Perhaps you want to build your confidence, get out and meet new people or get back on track into employment?

 Cyril Flint’s Supported Volunteer Scheme

If this sounds like you, then our supported volunteer programme could be just the thing. Our fun, informal and supportive Volunteer sessions can help empower people to become active in the community, build skills and increase their options whilst helping make a difference.Volunteering is a tried and tested method of improving confidence and wellbeing. However lots of people often find they face barriers to volunteering.

Our supported volunteer groups help build confidence and knowledge and encourage engagement in volunteering activity.

Support can include:

  • Help going through the application process
  • Filling in forms
  • A helping hand to get you started on your volunteering adventure. We are around to go with you to new places and are there to help you and the person you befriend settle in
  • Group sessions to share experiences and access further support if required.
  • Access to free supported learning courses whilst you are volunteering
  • Social events where you can meet other volunteers

And much, much more! Get in touch today – email for more information.

Money Changes Everything….

Or so Cyndi Lauper said!

Did you know Billions of pounds are given to charities every year, but most of this money finds its way to the highest profile names – which leaves smaller organisations without the power of well known brands struggling to survive? As disposable income remains low for many of us this undoubtedly has an impact on smaller, local charities and community groups. These are the lynch pins at the heart of a community, which can often make a huge difference to those who fall through the cracks of traditional services. These are the charities that don’t enjoy the benefits of celebrity endorsements or significant corporate backing. Like us, these charities rely on donations from their immediate community and the volunteered time of the local community.

By supporting a smaller, local Charity you even a modest donation can have a major impact. Money given to smaller charities is far less likely to have to go through the bureaucracy of the bigger charities, being used for admin costs and expensive marketing campaigns, for example.

Cyril Flint have an active fundraising programme and easy to access (and secure!) ways to donate online. There’s lots of ways to get involved!

And if making a financial donation isn’t possible perhaps you can help us in other ways.

We are currently looking for:

  • Daredevils and thrill seekers to take part in a charity bungee jump, there’s no upfront cost for participants as long as you can reach your fundraising target
  • Good quality Bric-a-Brac and books to sell at Fundraising Fairs
  • Cakes and tray bakes – any keen bakers please get in touch!
  • Anyone that can host a collection tin or bucket in your shop/office etc
  • Businesses that places lots of online orders (stationary/other goods etc) – every purchase can help raise money for free via  easyfundraising.

Or perhaps you are a local business looking to focus employee fundraising for those who don’t have a cause in mind when they run a marathon or host a dress down day. There’s also fantastic branding opportunities on offer in return for comparatively little investment compared with typical marketing activity.

For more information and more details of  how you can help please visit our Fundraising Page or contact

I’m off to dig out more ’80’s CD’s now………..