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% 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

powell_marc_riley1 (2)

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: 

Cyril Flint Accumulator challenge title-jpeg

Meet the teams!

Meet the Teams!

Our 2018 Accumulator Challenge launched on 2nd April and we wanted to introduce this years’ teams! All have signed up to take part in our 6 month challenge, whereby the charity gives them £50 to turn into as much money as possible via smart and creative investment and money making schemes! Last years’ teams raised over £6000 and we can’t wait to see what ideas this years’ teams have. Here’s a little introduction to our 2018 Accumulator Challenge fundraisers:

HSG Crafty Beggars

A group of staff members from the Didsbury branch of the Human Support Group, who provide domiciliary care to older people across the UK, have set up a team. They can appreciate first hand, from their client base, the growing issue of social isolation and loneliness in older people and indeed some of the company directors were the founding trustees of Cyril Flint Befrienders. They plan to utilise their team members unique skillset, namely of baking and creating, to fundraise across the six month challenge and hope to encourage donations from colleagues, friends and family. Look out for their tasty creations on our Facebook page!

Social Lites Women’s Institute

This fabulous group are back for more! They reigned champion of ‘Best Publicity Piece’ in our 2017 competition and successfully raised over £1300 for the charity through a variety of fundraising initiatives. The group are passionate about helping local causes and have planned a series of events, including jarbolas, choir evenings, a 100 club, tombolas and stall sales, to raise awareness of the charity and to raise as much money as possible for our cause! Details of events open to the public to follow.

Team Trowers

Trowers and Hamlins LLP Manchester staff recently voted and selected Cyril Flint Befrienders as their Charity of the Year for 2018 AND 2019! The staff have already been busy fundraising for the charity this year via a very fun quiz night that raised over £1000 and cake sales and dress down days. They were keen to take part in this event as part of their fundraising campaign for the charity and are excited to take on the challenge!

South Manchester BforB

South Manchester Business for Breakfast group are a networking group that meet alternate Wednesdays when most of us are still sleeping! They have networking meetings over breakfast, as most are representatives from small businesses or are sole traders and need to utilise every moment of their day. They are formed of a variety of businesses from business coaches, financial advisers and mortgage brokers, to recruitment consultants and refreshment providers. The team are planning to run various events throughout the challenge including raffles and a wine tasting evening, to raise funds.

Cathrine McGrory

Catherine is a current volunteer with Cyril Flint Befrienders and actively fundraises for charities on a regular basis. This year Catherine has chosen to take part in our fundraising challenge and plans to climb Mount Snowdon as well as planning afternoon tea treats for family and friends. You can sponsor Cathrine via her Just Giving Page (below).

Layout 1

It’s back – Accumulator Challenge 2018

Layout 1

After the success of our first ever Accumulator Challenge in 2017, in which 10 groups raised over £6000, Cyril Flint Befrienders are launching our next challenge and hoping to beat last years’ total!

We are inviting people to join as teams, either with colleagues, friends or family,  to see how much money you can raise to help us in our mission to combat loneliness.

We are a Greater Manchester based charity whose aim is to reduce social isolation and loneliness in older people by offering a free befriending service, offering much needed friendship and a connection to the local community that so many older people are missing. As a Charity, we are dependent upon donations, grants and fundraising to help us to continue to operate and reach more lonely older people.

How the competition works:

  • Your team/group/organisation will be given a starting fund of £50
  • You will then have a 6 month period 2nd April – 1st October 2018 to turn this £50 into as much money as possible for Cyril Flint Befrienders. You can use the money to buy ingredients for bake sales, prizes for quiz nights, or whatever else you need to help in your fundraising efforts.
  • After the six month period we will hold an awards evening and crown winners in the following categories:
    • Most Funds Raised
    • Most Innovative Idea
    • Best Publicity Piece

For more information or to request a registration form, please contact Alex Neil or call 0161 942 9465


Special thanks to the sponsors of this event The Human Support Group.

30 days friendship image

‘An old fashioned Cowboy and a Hi-tech Astronaut’

‘An old fashioned Cowboy and a Hi-tech Astronaut’

‘A bunch of misfits on a hunt for treasure, fighting a family of gangsters on an underground pirate ship’

‘ A group of 20-somethings regularly meeting in a coffee shop to discuss the ups and downs of their lives’

From Toy Story, to The Goonies, to a show literally titled ‘Friends’, the importance of friendship is a common theme in popular culture. The importance of having an individual, or a group of people who support you through the bad times, celebrate the good times and generally know you inside out. Friendship really is one of life’s great blessings, but what happens when the friendship’s fade?, when your friends have gone or its now too difficult for you to leave your own home and get out there?

This is the reality that many of today’s older generation are facing, with loneliness now being ranked as more harmful than obesity, to the wellbeing of our nation.

This November, Cyril Flint are on a mission to change all that, with their #30daysoffriendship campaign. Throughout the month there will be the opportunity to get involved in lots of different fundraising activities – all with the aim of raising much needed funds for the charity and increasing awareness of the difference it can make just having a friend.

In recent studies is has been found that those who had a close group of friends, and were actively engaged in social activities, were likely to live longer and be healthier overall. Because let’s face it, regardless of your age friendships make you feel happier, increase your sense of belonging, keep your mind alert and active as well as reducing stress levels – all of which greatly contribute to an improvement in physical and mental wellbeing.

Living with loneliness can be extremely painful and can have a detrimental effect on a person’s mood and their mental health. Many elderly people with early signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s can find that their symptoms are accelerated by the lack of social interaction and stimulation in their day to day lives.

Cyril Flint Befrienders, aim to combat loneliness and social isolation in elderly people in Greater Manchester through friendship; they match lonely older people up with a volunteer befriender who visits them for an hour a week. Although an hour may not seem much, older people who access the service tell us that having a befriender makes a huge difference to their mood; don’t believe me? – just look at the testimonials! Friendships and human contact matter, and can make a real genuine impact on the life of a lonely or isolated person.

So what are you waiting for? – get out there and get involved, it can be as simple as going round for a brew and a biscuit, or putting some loose change into a donation box, but believe me it really does make a difference.

For more information about the #30daysoffriendship campaign or the work that Cyril Flint do, explore our website further or follow us on social media: Twitter: @CyrilFlintBefriender and Facebook: CyrilFlintBefrienders

Special thanks to Anna Morrissey from Block 8 for her guest blog. Block 8 offers digital consultancy and designs bespoke business systems for your company. Click on their logo to visit their website:

Block 8 Logo


Help Cyril Flint win £25,000 funding!

aviva-logo-and-handsCyril Flint Befrienders have entered this year’s Aviva Community Fund competition to try to win £25,000 funding. 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 21st November. We have applied for £25,000 to help towards our running costs to enable us to continue operating and carry on reaching more isolated and lonely older people across Greater Manchester.

Here’s how you can vote for us:

1. and click ‘vote now’

2. Complete the short registration

3. Search ‘Cyril Flint’

4. You then  have 10 votes to use on worthy causes (you can use all 10 on us if you want!)

Thank you for your support!

social lites wi

Spotlight on Social Lites WI

social lites wiSocial Lites WI are another fabulous team participating in our Accumulator Challenge and we want to tell you about the great work they’ve done so far to raise awareness and fundraise for Cyril Flint Befrienders!

As part of this year’s WI initiative, all WI’s are committing to taking action to ‘Alleviate Loneliness’. After learning about our befriending service and the work our volunteers do in the community to help combat loneliness, Caroline and the Social Lites team were keen to help. They have done a huge variety of fundraising initiatives from Jarbolas to Jumble Trails to Afternoons Tea, to name the Teddy! They are keen to get everyone involved and have so far raised an impressive £600 but are keen to bump this up to £1000 by the 30th September competition end date.

To donate to their team’s fundraising, click here.


Afternoon tea 4

Spotlight on Small Group Angels

Small Group Angels-page-0

Our Accumulator Challenge is an event aimed at raising vital funds, as well as awareness of Cyril Flint Befrienders and the work we are doing to combat loneliness and isolation in the elderly residents in Greater Manchester.

We were delighted when one of our existing Volunteer Befrienders asked if she could form a group to take part! Small Group Angels is a team set up by one of our Volunteer Befriender’s Sarah. Sarah has been volunteering with us since 2016 and befriends a gentleman called Donald. Sarah has recruited a few friends and together they have formed the Small Group Angels to participate in the challenge. The group have tried to think outside the box when it comes to fundraising ideas and kicked off their fundraising with a Smarties challenge whereby they gave tubes of Smarties away and asked that after people had enjoyed the chocolate inside, they then filled them with loose change. This idea raised over £150!

The team then got baking and hosted their own Afternoon Tea in their back garden. The British weather was kind to them and they had a lovely sunny day and very full garden, with a grand total of £415 being raised! Sarah also brought along Donald as guest of honour! Their next and final event is going to be a Wine Tasting evening, which they are hoping will bring their fundraising up to £1000!

To donate to their team’s fundraising click here.


OT Wonder Women WI

Spotlight on Old Trafford Wonder Women WI

OT Wonder Women

Cyril Flint Befrienders launched our first ever Accumulator Challenge earlier this year, where we invited teams to sign up and compete to see who could raise the most funds in a six month period. All teams were given £50 each and tasked to be as creative as possible to turn this into as much money as possible for the charity to help us in our mission to combat loneliness in the elderly.

With the competition now nearing its completion, with the final day for fundraising being 30th September 2017, we wanted to shine some light on our brilliant teams and the tireless work they have been doing since April to fundraise.

The WI’s across the country have voted to campaign to alleviate loneliness. Even before the vote had been cast, OT Wonder Women WI had decided they wanted to support Cyril Flint in some way as they were touched by the work we do in the local community. The group have done a variety of fundraising events over the last few months, with the most funds being raised at Old Trafford Picnic Day, where the group had a cake stall and some bistro table and chairs set out. The team sold cakes and refreshments and provided table service with the help of the local Brownies and had a very successful day raising £500 for Cyril Flint Befrienders!

Their next event is a Jumble Trail in Old Trafford, where residents set up stalls at the end of their drives to sell items they no longer need, old treasures and bric a brac! Be sure to give the Trail a visit on Saturday 16th September in Old Trafford. Last year over 50 houses took part so it’s sure to be a bug event!

To donate to their fundraising click here.


PHMG logo

Spotlight on PHMG

PHMG climb Snowdon for Cyril Flint

In April this year Cyril Flint Befrienders launched our first ever Accumulator Challenge. We invited teams to sign up and compete to see who could raise the most funds in a six month period. All teams were given £50 each and tasked to be as creative as possible to turn this into as much money as possible for the charity to help us in our mission to combat loneliness in the elderly.

With the competition now nearing its completion, the final day for fundraising being 30th September 2017, we wanted to shine some light on our brilliant teams and the tireless work they have been doing since April to fundraise.

Having fundraised an amazing £3636.70 in 2015-16 for Cyril Flint Befrienders, the Music Team at PHMG were excited to sign up for our Accumulator Challenge this year. From the outset their aim was to do something big and after toying with a few ideas they decided to climb Snowdon. They knew this would be a challenge but felt it still didn’t stand out enough and so opted to climb Snowdon by moonlight to make it that bit more difficult!

The support the team received was outstanding and they raised a huge £1700! The team are now busy arranging their next event, a music quiz, which should be a little kinder on their tired legs!

To donate to the team’s fundraising, click here.