Finding friends

Looking to connect and make new friends? There are many places to meet up with people in Newcastle.

As you get older, you may find that your friends and family become fewer or  you see them less often. This can be for many reasons, such as life becoming too busy, bereavement, ill health, disability or people moving away from the area that you live in. It may be that you are living alone for the first time in many years if your partner has passed away, or your relationship has ended for other reasons, such as divorce.

Loneliness and isolation can be a huge problem. It can effect your physical and mental health. It’s a great idea to try some of the groups below and start meeting people.

Friendship groups

Laing Art Gallery run the free Meet @ Laing Group to socialise, talk about culture, explore new things and visit new places.

Search Newcastle run social groups, coffee morning, activities and groups for older people in the West End of Newcastle. This include West End Friends project: one to one support and group activities in the South Asian and Chinese communities.

Meet new people

There are many ways in which you can make new friends; the most obvious being to join a group of like-minded people. You can do this by thinking about the things that you enjoy doing and finding a group that you can join. If you don’t have a hobby, try reading the following sections of our website for some ideas:


Travelling alone may seem daunting at first, but there are many travel companies that specialise in organising holidays for older or single people. Visit our section on Taking a holiday for more detailed information about how to arrange a trip or find a holiday that suits your needs.

Local clubs and community centres

If you don’t want to travel too far, there should be plenty of opportunities in your local area to meet new people and spend time in other people’s company. Have a look at our Directory of Organisations for details of groups in the area you live in. You can now search by postcode and area to see organisations that operate in your area. You may also like to see our information on Food and Friends and  Day centres

Meetup is an online network of local groups. You can organise a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. More than 9,000 groups get together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of improving themselves or their communities.

Outsiders is an organisation that offers social opportunities to people with physical, learning and social disabilities.

National Women’s Register (NWR) is a social organisation for all women. They offer local group and online meetings for conversation, friendship and fun. The groups are informal and relaxed. You can meet lively minded members who are interested in everything and talk about anything. Visit their website to find your local group and more about their activities. You can attend 3 free taster sessions. If you decide to join the membership subscription costs £32 a year from January 2023.

Tea parties and cafes

Reengage offer monthly afternoon tea parties for people over 75 who live alone.

Fenwicks Friendly Folk meet up at Fenwick’s The Terrace Restaurant twice a month. They also arrange outings and birthday celebrations.

The Chatty Cafe is a scheme where you can find local cafes who encourage their customers to chat to each other. They also run online sessions on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays


This is great way to meet new people and also to give something back to your community at the same time. Our section on Volunteering will give you some ideas about ways in which you can give your time. Volunteering is also an excellent way of learning new skills and building up your confidence.

Befriending services in the community

If you are isolated and are unable to get out and about, you may benefit from a befriending service. This means that a volunteer will visit you, usually in your own home, to provide you with some company. Some services offer telephone befriending, which involves a volunteer contacting you for a chat over the telephone on a regular basis. We have listed here some organisations that may be able to provide you with a befriender:

Chain Reaction is a service commissioned by Newcastle City Council that supports older people (55+) to live independently in the community.

By promoting the use of community-based resources and facilities, Chain Reaction helps people to lead happier, healthier lives. It supports and sustains friendships in order to combat social isolation and to increase a sense of good emotional health and wellbeing

Chain Reaction is provided by three partner organisations:

Together they have knowledge and experience of working with older people, those who have a learning disability, and people with poor mental health.

Ways to Wellness service helps people in the West of Newcastle to manage their long-term conditions, which may include activities such as:

  • Getting involved in local groups and activities
  • Accessing specialist services and support
  • Healthy eating and getting more active
  • Getting support around benefits and welfare rights

Befriending at home

Caring Hands is a charity whose mission is to sustain the independence and quality of life of older and disabled people living in the East End of Newcastle. They provide a wide range of services designed to help older and disabled people to live independently and to improve their quality of life.

St Martin’s Centre in Byker have a Befriending and Wellbeing Project. They can arrange for a volunteer to visit you regularly or help you to take part in activities at their Centre or the local community.

Royal Voluntary Service offers a Befriending service where older people can be matched with a volunteer who can offer visits and time for a chat.

The Grange Centre provide and outreach service for help at home with housework, shopping and befriending.  They can also help you to attend hospital appointments and take part in community activities.

Wag and Co provide a trained dog and volunteer to visit you at home, hospital or in your care home setting. This befriending service gives older, isolated, unwell or bereaved people the chance to spend time with a friendly dog. They also offer human company, a chat and cuddles with a dog. To use this befriending service you need to be referred by a professional, such as your GP, adult social care, or The British Red Cross.

People with learning disabilities

Friends Action North East (FANE) support adults with learning disabilities and autism to meet new people and make lasting friendships. They work across Newcastle, Gateshead and North Tyneside.

Telephone befriending

Volunteering Matters runs the Getting Together Matters project. They have regular online and telephone events. This include a ‘Telephone pals’ service where you can request regular phone calls from a volunteer.

Foodcycle run Check in and Chat free service you can arrange a 20 minute call each week for a social chat with a volunteer. This is for anyone in the UK. You can sign-up whether or not you come to one of their community meals.

NHS Care Volunteer Responder service is a free telephone service for people who are vulnerable, isolated or lonely. Volunteers will call you to check in and chat. The service is free and you don’t need to be referred by a doctor. You can have one off or regular phone calls from a volunteer. They will have a chat and listen to you. They can help you explore changes you can make tin your life. For example to connect with others, become more physically active, to learn new skills or volunteer. They can signpost you to other services and support in the community.

The Silver Line is the confidential, free helpline for older people across the UK open every day and night of the year. Specially trained helpline staff offer

  • information, friendship and advice
  • signposting to local groups and services
  • regular befriending calls
  • protection and support to those who are suffering abuse and neglect

Independent Age run telephone friendship groups to help you connect with new friends and to learn more issues that matter to you. This is aimed at people who aren’t online or can’t get out and about in their community.

Methodist Homes Housing Association (MHA) run telephone befriending services for older people and LGBTQ+ people.

Stroke befriending service

Newcastle Community Stroke Service offers specialist rehabilitation to people at home and in the community. To use this service you must be over 18, have Newcastle GP and have a diagnosis of Stroke. They have a Patient Support Group and a Befriending Service for people with Aphasia.

Socialising online

There are a number of ways of finding new friends, or a partner online. Many of these services are free of charge, but some online dating sites charge a monthly fee.

The Chatty Cafe run online sessions on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays

Volunteering Matters runs the Getting Together Matters project. They have regular online and telephone events.

Social Networking section on Information Now

Finding a partner page on Information NOW

Last updated: November 13, 2023