Linking Lives in Devon

by Linking Lives UK in Plymouth, United Kingdom

Linking Lives in Devon

Total raised £5,297

raised so far

+ est. £186.75 Gift Aid



Transform the lives of 100s of lonely, older people by fostering caring, fun & meaningful relationships, and supporting befriending schemes.

Project by Linking Lives UK

This project will enable us to foster closer community by bringing people together in spaces with fun and engaging activities that deepen relationships and build confidence. It will also develop befriending schemes and train those volunteering in public spaces or groups. The project will boost the confidence and sense of worth of individuals who take part, and build the capacity of the volunteers involved.

This year we also have a unique opportunity to work with two regional partners to deliver events for residents of supported, urban residential homes and housing associations. These will stimulate conversations, build community and it is anticipated there will be around 100 residents who benefit.

As we involve volunteers from the local community and churches, we aim to establish a new one-to-one befriending scheme as a follow on from the groups. Additionally, we want to open another befriending scheme in the County. Together, around 20 individuals experiencing loneliness or social isolation could benefit from weekly one-to-one conversations with (20) volunteers. 

We also want to train another 30 volunteers who work in diverse community-based projects that bring people together, potentially benefitting another 100 participants in these projects.

Our 4-fold strategic activities are as follows:

Tea & Memories

Linking Lives and Living memories CIC will partner to deliver Tea and Memory sessions in up to three supported ‘Housing for Older People’ schemes in areas of urban deprivation. Each session will be run for the residents in their community lounge. 

Tea & Memories invites older people in the local community, including those developing dementia, to come together for a cup of tea and watch a reminiscence DVD. Topical videos stimulate memories and personal stories by using guided questions that gets people talking. In the Tea and Memories groups, people often say, “Yes, I remember that reminds me of this, that and the other”. It’s wonderful hearing the excitement that comes out when they watch some of the film. 

A typical session can be seen here: 

Activity Packs


Over the course of a year, EACH MONTH residents will be given a Linking Lives Activity Pack. Each pack includes a mixture of puzzles, word searches and colouring suitable for adults. Readers are encouraged to contribute their own activities and content too. 

This intentional monthly contact point will build rapport and trust, and create a sense of belonging as residents do the activities together or talk about what they have done as individuals  

Activity pack examples can be here:- 

Two’s Company Befriending

 1709050045_two's_company_befriending_logo.jpgTwo’s Company Befriending offers dependable relationships between volunteer befrienders and people in the community who would otherwise experience feelings of loneliness or social isolation. This can be face-to-face, telephone befriending or a mix of the two

A small church in Exeter started the first Two’s Company community-befriending scheme in Devon. For the first year it consisted of a handful of volunteers and scheme members. The local co-coordinator describes how things have since grown… “As the local social prescribers for Exwick and the neighbouring St Thomas district got to see what we do, they have become convinced in the usefulness of our service. So much so, that I am now hoping to soon have about 15 trained volunteers on our books, in response to the high number of referrals!”

This project will look to set up and launch two new befriending schemes in the County benefitting 20 individuals plus 20 volunteers

Good Conversations

1709050136_good_conversations_final.jpgLinking Lives has also supported the many Community groups and churches that actively address social isolation and loneliness by creating spaces and activities that bring people together.

We have run Good Conversations to help equip their volunteers, covering topics such as active listening, understanding needs, opening and maintaining conversations and managing boundaries.

Diverse community groups including cafes, Men’s sheds, craft, parent & child and warm space venues benefitted from these sessions… “The training was of high quality and particularly useful for people new to befriending / conversing with unknown people.”(Open Door Project, Exmouth)

This project will seek to deliver this training to 30 volunteers involved in such groups that attract in the region of 50 participants.

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