LinkAges
Volunteer with LinkAges and support us to reduce the social isolation of older people in Bristol.
1-2 hours a week, throughout the year
Different locations in Bristol
What is LinkAges?
LinkAges is a student-led volunteering programme which aims to reduce social isolation experienced amongst older people. We aim to foster connection and understanding across the generations, through fun and engaging activities.
You can join activities that:
  • Help older people to improve how they use technology
  • Support people living with dementia
  • Allow students and older people to socialise and share interests through skills swaps
(More details of projects below)
How to become a volunteer
  • Take a look at the various LinkAges projects taking place in the list below.
  • Complete a short online application form. You can tell us a bit about yourself and select the project you're most interested in - please consider time and location of activities and which best suit your availability.
  • Attend a selection workshop which includes introductory information and basic training.
  • Complete an online safeguarding video and DBS check.
  • Go to an induction session at the community partner organisation you'll be volunteering with
  • You're now ready to start volunteering!
LinkAges projects
We run a variety of projects with different community partners across the city including care homes, retirement villages and day centres. Each of our projects requires a commitment of only 1-2 hours week, so can fit round your schedule. Below are the projects we currently run. When you apply, please select the activity you would prefer to take part in.
Projects
IT support sessions:
What: Spend time with residents at a local retirement village and help them with their technology - from sending photos via email, to texting!
Where: St Monica Trust, Westbury on Trym, BS9 3UN
When: Wednesdays, 2-4pm
PLEASE NOTE: You will need a DBS certificate to take part in this project.
Life Stories:
What: Life Stories is a fixed term project that involves visiting a resident at a local retirement village. You will spend several sessions with the resident that you are matched with, getting to know them and talking about their life experiences. You will then record this in a format that they can keep, e.g. a scrapbook, photo album, poster.
Where: St Monica Trust, Westbury on Trym, BS9 3UN
When: Flexible - we will try to base sessions around the availability of volunteers and residents.
PLEASE NOTE: You will need a DBS certificate to take part in this project.
Coffee mornings:
What: Have a coffee and a chat with residents during weekly social coffee mornings.
Where: St Monica Trust, Westbury on Trym, BS9 3UN
When: Tuesdays, 9.30-11.00am
PLEASE NOTE: You will need a DBS certificate to take part in this project.
Skill Swaps
What: There are a variety of activities happening at care homes and community centres across Bristol that give students and older people the opportunity to learn and share new skills!
Craft group: Mondays, 10.00-11.30 (St Monica Trust, Westbury on Trym, BS9 3UN)
Gardening group 1: Wednesdays, 1pm-3.30pm (Blaise Weston Court, Broadlands Dr, Bristol BS11 0AF)
Gardening group 2: Every other Friday, 10.30am-12.30pm (Bristol Community Links- South, Langhill Avenue, Avon, Bristol, BS4 1TN)
Knitting group: Fridays, 10.30am-12.30pm (Southmead Development Trust, Greenway Centre, Doncaster Rd, Bristol BS10 6AH)
PLEASE NOTE: You will need a DBS check or two character references to take part in these activities.
Alzheimer's Cafes:
What: Have a cup of tea and a chat with attendees at local Alzheimer's Cafes.
Sessions are run monthly, at the following times:
Alzheimer's Cafe - 1st Tuesday of the month, 3.00-5.30pm: St Monica Trust Cote Lane, Westbury on Trym
Alzheimer's Cafe - 4th Monday of the month, 1.30-4.00pm: Monica Wills House, Bedminster
What will you get out of it?
Volunteering with LinkAges will allow you to develop a range of skills and experience including:
  • Communication
  • Effective listening
  • Teamwork
  • Time management
  • Adaptability
  • Awareness of social issues amongst older people
  • An understanding of dementia and how best to support people living with dementia
  • Safeguarding training
This opportunity is excellent for anyone wanting experience working in care homes, community centres and with older people, or who is exploring a career in social work, education, psychology, therapy or community outreach and development work.
Support from Bristol Hub
LinkAges volunteers are supported by the Bristol Hub Project Officer and LinkAges student committee.
  • We'll respond to any questions or concerns, and try to find solutions to any problems.
  • We will reimburse reasonable travel expenses, so you're never out of pocket for volunteering.
  • We'll help you to feel part of a community by holding socials and other lovely stuff.
About the issue: loneliness and social isolation
While today's world is more connected than ever in a lot of ways, loneliness and social isolation are big issues in a lot of communities, particularly amongst older people.
Intergenerational contact is extremely effective in helping isolated people to connect with their local community, and we want older people and students in Bristol to feel connected to their communities and learn from each other.
Here are some facts that may surprise you...
  • Around 10% of older people (aged 65+) in England feel lonely often or always
  • Research shows that loneliness has a big effect on mental health, with lonely people losing confidence and finding it harder and harder to reengage with society.
  • Loneliness increases the risk of developing dementia, and can be as bad for your physical health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day according to some studies.
  • Cuts to older people's services in Bristol means that there are fewer services and resources available to older people, and more pressure on service providers.
Our Impact: 2017/18
In 2017/18 we supported:
  • 97 student volunteers
  • 150 beneficiaries
What beneficiaries say....
*"I think the whole idea of the Hub and the skills swapping is really good. They teach us about IT and we can teach them things like sewing, knitting and crocheting, and have a good chat and a cup of tea, and that’s what it’s all about.
Students are much younger and they’ve got a different outlook on life. You can talk about all sorts of interesting things."*
What volunteers say...
"Working with Bristol Hub staff is enriching and valuable. The level of support I received for LinkAges is tremendous. It gave me confidence in my role as I knew that I had the support for any issue that may arise."
Have any questions about the application process or need reasonable adjustments made? Please contact **access@bristolhub.org**. We are inclusive and encouraging of all University of Bristol students who want to volunteer, and welcome BME, LGBT+ and Disabled applicants.
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