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:
IT Assistance Sessions: come along to informal weekly group sessions, get to know some elderly residents and help them with some basic computer skills. Show them how to use Google, watch online videos, send emails, and Skype the grandkids. Sessions take place on Wednesday afternoons.
Student Skills Swap: 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 (flexible day, usually around 5pm)
  • Craft group (alternating days, tbc)
  • Bridge group (residents will teach you how to play this fun card game!)
  • Pottery (join a residents' informal pottery group, Thursday 1:30-3:30pm)
    The Dementia Memory Aid Project: run activities with people with dementia at local care homes. Socialising through simple, stimulating activities, from sharing stories to playing games to singing, will really benefit and make a difference to people with dementia. (We will provide dementia training and activity packs.)
    Music Volunteer: Interested in playing to an appreciative audience? We need musical volunteers to play their instruments or sing at local care homes. Music is incredible therapy for people with dementia, and has been proven to stimulate the brain and improve memory retention amongst older people. You will have the chance to practice performing and expand your repertoire! (Many of the care homes we work with have pianos, other instruments would need to be brought along by you.)
    Primary School Visits: we're looking for a couple of volunteers to join this project, which takes a few residents to run fun interactive sessions with kids in a nearby primary school on).
    Hospital Visits: we will support a small team of volunteers to lead their own project on a hospital ward for older people. You will run a series of activities, and help to make the ward a more friendly and welcoming environment.
    Chapel Visits: volunteers are needed to help out at church services at the St Monica Trust's Cote Lane retirement village from 10am-12pm on Wednesdays. There is also the opportunity to take part in services at their Westbury Fields site on Thursday or Friday mornings. You will socialise with tea and coffee, accompany people, and generally get to know the residents who attend these services. These are Church of England services, but you do not need to be a part of that faith to attend. There are similar opportunities to get involved in if you are interested but cannot attend on Wednesdays, so please email if you would like to know more!
You will need a DBS certificate to volunteer with LinkAges. Find more information in our FAQ.
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 ****. 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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