Tandem is a small, Oxford-based charity that has been setting up one-to-one befriending partnerships between people living with mental health problems, and volunteers, since 1999.


Many people who experience some form of mental distress such as depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions, also experience the loss of social networks that they previously relied on. Normal patterns of life such as going to work, meeting friends, and taking part in leisure activities are disrupted, and people become vulnerable to loneliness and isolation. 


Time spent in hospital, and a decrease in contact with normal community life, also lead to lack of confidence and self-esteem. For many people, simply going out is a big effort. This can be particularly true if they have recently been discharged from hospital.


At a time when approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK experiences a mental health problem each year, Tandem makes a real difference to people’s lives.


Coming to Tandem has had a massive impact on my well-being for the better. My befriender is great and we get on very well. My life has got a lot better and I am very pleased with the service.

It took me  sometime to comfortably slip into to non-verbal time spent with my first befriendee. Through that period, I came to experience and value that calm gentle way of being - like the ripples of a pebble on a large, still pond. Slowly my befriendee relaxed and we developed a light-hearted, gentle relationship. I learned to let things be, and find pleasure in the moment.

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