Doncaster's elderly given chance to b:friend with digital skills training

b:friend, a local charity which aims to combat loneliness, has received a £5,000 grant to fund courses to support elderly people in Doncaster who are socially isolated.  The charity will use the funds to run group ‘befriending’ sessions to bring people together, as well as digital skills workshops to improve elderly people’s online capabilities.
The donation was provided by the Santander Foundation, which offers Discovery Grants to UK registered charities for projects that help disadvantaged people in local communities.

b:friend reconnects elderly individuals facing social isolation by introducing one to one and group ‘befriending’ sessions on a weekly basis. The sessions allow people to come together over a cup of tea or coffee and have a chat in a social environment.

As technology advances, older neighbours are in danger of being left behind and becoming increasingly disconnected as many day-to-day activities go online. The funding provided by The Santander Foundation will also allow b:friend to deliver digital training workshops in individual and group settings. The aim of the sessions will not be to replace face-to-face interactions, but to encourage increased internet use among participants, allowing older neighbours to keep in touch between befriending visits, or enable them to connect with friends and family further afield.   

Stevie Woodrup, Befriending Officer at b:friend, said: “A vast number of older neighbours face the risk of social isolation in Doncaster with many not seeing or speaking to another person for weeks or months at a time. As the world becomes increasingly digital, there’s a real danger we’re leaving older neighbours completely cut off. This project will allow us to provide older neighbours with digital skills, so they feel less isolated and more able to connect with others.”

Lorraine Latibeaudiere, Branch Manager at Santander’s Doncaster branch, said: “The Santander Foundation makes hundreds of donations to local projects every year with the aim of assisting organisations, communities and vulnerable people throughout the UK.  The staff at our branch know the great work b:friend does in our community and we hope this grant will help them in their support for local people.”

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Notes to Editors:

Media Contact
Leonora Burtenshaw at Santander    
Email:     Tel:  020 7756 4543

Mike Niles at B:Friend    
Email:     Tel:  07523 698530

About b:friend

b:friend pairs volunteer befrienders with socially isolated older neighbours in the community to pop-in, once-a-week, for a cuppa and a chat. Through this 1:1 befriending, and weekly group Social Clubs, older neighbours can reconnect with their communities and create new meaningful friendships that bring value and love to their lives.

For more information please visit:

Santander Foundation
The Santander Foundation is at the heart of the Bank’s community activities, providing grants to small charities and social enterprises working with disadvantaged people to fund skills, knowledge and innovation projects across the UK. Discovery Grants of up to £5,000 are available to support three types of activity:

  • Explorer: improving people’s knowledge
  • Transformer: supporting skills and experience
  • Changemaker: innovative solutions to social challenges

Over the last five years, the Santander Foundation has provided £26 million in funding to 13,914 UK charities through Discovery Grants and Staff Matched Donations. For more information please visit:

Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. It has brought real competition to the UK, through its innovative products for retail customers and relationship banking model for UK SMEs. At 31 December 2018, the bank has c23,800 employees.  It serves around 15 million active customers, via a nationwide branch network, telephone, mobile and online banking; and 64 regional Corporate Business Centres. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers’ eligible deposits are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.