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More and more people are seeking friendship and support on the internet. It doesn’t matter what your interests are, you can be sure there are others somewhere in the world who will share them.

Forums for the young at heart

The Silver Surfers forums provide people over 50 with the chance to chat about anything and everything.

Gransnet is an online support network for older people (non-grandparents and grandads included). Discussion topics are diverse and include books, television, gardening, travel, volunteering and politics.

Buzz50 is free social networking site for the over 50s worldwide. Forums include serious and light-hearted topics and current affairs.

National charity forums

More national charities are now recognising the benefits of bringing people together to talk about similar experiences and some have set up popular online discussion boards:

Anxiety UK operates a live chat service from Monday-Friday, 9.30am-5.30pm.

Alzheimer’s Talking Point is a safe place to ask questions, share experiences and receive advice and support.

Arthritis Care Online Community connects with others who share your experiences of living with, or caring for, someone with arthritis.

The National Autistic Society offers e-befrienders to support individuals aged 12 and over, particularly those in remote areas. Call: 02920 629314 or email.

Bipolar UK has a supportive web-based discussion forum. Available 24 hours a day.

Action for Blind People brings together people affected by sight loss in its Action Connect forum. Members discuss topics from technology, health and wellbeing and hobbies.

Carers UK - join in with the conversation and discuss practical and emotional issues with other carers.

Carers Trust has an online community where carers can connect with other carers, discuss their problems, share tips and ideas or just have a pause in their day for some fun. Carers can join one of three online communities.

Deafness Action for Hearing Loss has forums for Deafness & Hearing Loss, Tinnitus and Products & Equipment.

Epilepsy Forum4 is an online community for people with epilepsy and carers of people with epilepsy.

Learning Disabilities and Autism SCOPE has a very supportive online forum where users can also get advice from health, employment and housing professionals.

Parkinson's UK encourages people with the disease and their families and carers to support one another in their forum community.

Physical Disabilities SCOPE’s forum supports those with cerebral palsy and other disabilities.

Mental Health SANE has a free support forum for over 18s.

The Mental Health Forum aims to be ‘the friendliest place on the planet to discuss mental health issues'. Members support one another through tough times, but also talk about all sort of other things too.

Stroke TalkStroke enables those affected by stroke to share information and experiences.

Stress and Anxiety The Big White Wall is a safe place for people to share what’s troubling them. It’s completely anonymous, is available 24/7 and is manned by professional ‘wall guides’. The service is free to members of the Armed Forces, veterans and their families. There is a monthly charge for some users.

Last updated: 19/10/2016