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. It's brand new for 2016-17 and we're working with a local care home to support their residents.
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.
  • Parlours of Wonder: By volunteering on Parlours of Wonder, you can engage with older people living in Bristol and use new creative technologies to relieve social isolation. Parlours of Wonder are specially designed creative rooms located in care settings catering for older people, filled with objects to help start conversations. Students and older people will be encouraged to share stories, using new digital technologies as well as objects from the past to encourage community and intergenerational understanding.
  • 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. Whether you want to improve your language skills, learn woodwork, practice a musical instrument, or discuss your ideal career with someone who has experienced it, we can try to arrange it! You can also bring your own skills and interests to the home - if you have a skill you would like to share, someone will probably want to learn it!
  • One-to-one Visits in Garden House: you can meet with a resident in Garden House, which is the nursing care home of St Monica's residential complex, and includes The Sundials, a specialist dementia care home. Your visits are important, as they will provide less mobile residents with the opportunity to socialise. We will match you with a resident who would benefit from a visitor, and you can then arrange regular visits at times that suit both of you.
  • Primary School Visits: we're looking for a couple of volunteers to join this already existing project, which takes a few residents to run fun interactive sessions with kids in a nearby primary school on Friday afternoons (1:00-3:30pm).
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.
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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