overfiftiesfriends.co.uk provides a fresh, new online approach to offline friendship for over fifties in the UK. Its creators aim to change the way this section of society views and uses the Internet as a means of meeting others in a similar situation. Via a welcoming, professional, interactive community, overfiftiesfriends.co.uk provides the ideal meeting place for predominantly, though not exclusively, single over fifties. There are dating sites aimed at the over fifties. There are lifestyle sites aimed at the over fifties. But widows and widowers, divorcees or singles do not necessarily want the embarrassment that goes with “dating” or need help with their health insurance! In the last 7 years, more than 2 million people over 50 have divorced and by 2025, a third of Britain’s population will be over 55. But mother and son Sue and Miles Avison feel that many such people would welcome a structured friendship community where the members themselves organise activities in order to get together and meet others to share their interests. Overfiftiesfriends.co.uk was launched in February and has a steadily-increasing member base. The first 500 people to register received free membership for a year, and subscription to the site now costs a small fee, 10% of which goes to charity. Membership gives users plenty for their money. They can create a profile with a picture and key information and also the types of activities they would be interested in pursuing or organising. It is then possible to search for other members by region, age, gender, interests and even possible types of activity that they would be interested in. The crux of the site is the activities section. Once an activity is created it then becomes a discussion forum. The creator can then see who has added to the discussion before agreeing a time and place for the activity to go ahead. It is possible to search in the activities forum according to key words or category. After just a week or two of the site going live, members were organising walks in the country, castle visits, trips to antique fairs and meals out. A simple link allows users to see what activities have recently been discussed or organised. It is also possible to message or have real-time chats with other members with similar interests. The serious and simple approach of the site gives a feeling of professionalism, whilst encouraging members to get to know each other before committing to meeting. When registering, members are asked to use their real names and put up a photo. This genuine approach alone is quite unique.
The whole approach of overfiftiesfriends.co.uk allows for friendly meetings with safety in numbers and none of the discomfort associated with Internet dating.