LinkAges
By volunteering with LinkAges, you can engage with older people living in Bristol and the issues facing an ageing population.
1-2 hours a week, throughout the year
St Monica Trust Retirement Village, BS9 3UN
What is LinkAges?
LinkAges is a student-led volunteering programme that enables you to volunteer and engage with older people in the Bristol area. The programme exists to reduce loneliness amongst socially isolated older people.
What can you do?
You can apply to volunteer with one of our projects that will be running this year:
Life Stories:
What: Small groups of students will be matched with a resident at a local retirement village and spend about 4 sessions with them, talking about their life experiences. You will then record this in a format that they can keep, e.g. a scrapbook or artwork.
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: There will be a training session for this on the 7th February, 2-4pm. Let us know if you can’t attend this.
Dhek Bhal Women’s Group (female volunteers only!):
What: Spend time with attendees at a local group for older South Asian women. Each week you will run a simple activity with the attendees, e.g. nail painting, crafts, board games. If you have any skills to share, you are welcome to base activities around them. We ask that only female volunteers apply to this project.
Where: Dhek Bhal, Lawrence Hill, BS5 0AX
When: Mondays, 10:30-12:30 (followed by lunch), or every other Tuesday, 10:30-12:30
Dhek Bhal Men’s Group (male volunteers only!):
What: Spend time with attendees at a local group for older South Asian men. Each week you will run a simple activity with the attendees, e.g. board games, crafts, quizzes. If you have any skills to share, you are welcome to base activities around them. We ask that only male volunteers apply to this project.
Where: Dhek Bhal, Lawrence Hill, BS5 0AX
When: 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month, 11-1:00
Knitting Group:
What: Join a knitting group for older people at a local community centre. No knitting expertise is required, as other knitters in the group will be able to help you to pick up the basic skills. We can supply you with some basic knitting equipment if you don’t have your own (needles, a ball of wool).
Where: Greenway Centre, Southmead Development Trust, BS10 5PY
When: Fridays, 10:30-12:00
Gardening Group:
What: Take part in a (mostly) indoor gardening group, you will plant small tubs of flowers, herbs, etc, and take part in some nature-themed DIY and craft projects.
Where: Greenway Centre, Southmead Development Trust, BS10 5PY
When: Thursdays, 1:30-3:30
Chapel Visits:
What: Volunteers will help out at a church service in a retirement village, and get to know the attendees.
Where: St Monica Trust, Westbury on Trym, BS9 3UN
When: Wednesdays, 10am-12pm
Dementia Memory Aid:
What: Get to know residents at a local care home, and take part in simple activities that promote memory and wellbeing, from crosswords to listening to music.
Where: Stokeleigh Care Home, Stoke Bishop, BS9 1JN
When: Sessions will be in the afternoons, and based around your availability where possible
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 (you can attend one or both cafes):
Alzheimer's Cafe - 1st Tuesday of the month, 3:30-5:30pm: St Monica Trust Cote Lane, Westbury on Trym
Alzheimer's Cafe - 4th Monday of the month, 2-4pm: Monica Wills House, Bedminster
Student Skills Swap:
What: Both students and residents have a wide and diverse range of skills, so we are giving you the opportunity to learn from and/or share skills and interests with the residents.
There are several pre-existing Skills Swaps to choose from, or we can try to match you up with someone else. Whether it's art, engineering, music, or languages, someone will want to share or learn a skill with you! Current projects include:
  • Social Studies discussions group (Thursdays, 5-6:30pm) only one place left
  • Card games group - learn from residents, or teach your own favourite games (Thursdays, 10:30-11:30am)
  • Pottery (join a residents' informal pottery group, Thursday 1:30-3:30pm) only 2 places left
    Where: St Monica Trust, Westbury on Trym, BS9 3UN
If you have any questions, email linkages@bristolhub.org to find out more!
Why is loneliness and social isolation a bad thing?
While today's world is more connected that 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: 2016/17
LinkAges launched as a new volunteering programme in Bristol in 2016/17.
In our first year we supported:
  • 36 student volunteers
  • 40 beneficiaries
  • 3 care homes for older people
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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