As we approach Christmas, it is a sad fact that 500,000 older people will spend Christmas Day alone in the UK. Linking Lives UK is a national Christian charity which works with churches to reach and support socially isolated older people through befriending projects, social events and activities. Based on a successful model which has been running in Berkshire for 20 years, volunteers visit one person once a week for one hour. These visits often have a profound impact on both older people and volunteers alike as self-esteem, confidence and general wellbeing improve. There can also be opportunities to pray with those receiving visits if they wish, as well as encouraging attendance at church events and activities if their mobility allows.
With 31 such projects operating across England and Scotland, Linking Lives UK is looking for new church partners all the current time. They provide all the necessary training, support, documentation and advice required to establish a befriending project, as well as ongoing guidance.
To find out more about your local community in relation to loneliness and over 65’s a ‘Loneliness Heatmap’ has been developed by Age UK and this can be found at http://data.ageuk.org.uk/loneliness-maps/england-2016/