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Project information

Active Friends

Our volunteer 'Active Friends' help lonely and isolated older people who would like to get out more and join a group activity but lack the confidence to do so by themselves. Once the older person feels comfortable and have started to make friends in a group, the volunteer can help another client.

July 2013 - July 2014

Charity information: Age UK Southampton

Age UK Southampton logo
  • Need


    Age Concern Southampton receives between 5-10 referrals per week for lonely and isolated older people living in Southampton

    Many of the clients we are in contact with lack the confidence to join a group activity by themselves, and many suffer from depression or anxiety.


    The idea of Active Friends is to support isolated
    and lonely older people in re-integrating into community life. The client is partnered with a volunteer Active Friend who will befriend the client and accompany them to activities such as social mornings, lunch clubs or physical activities like Tai-Chi or walking groups. For vulnerable clients, particularly those who do not leave the house often, initial steps may include confidence-building exercises such as going for a short walk.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Increase isolated older people's participation in community life


    » Partner clients with Active Friends volunteers

    What success will look like

    Success will be 60 isolated older people reintegrated into community life over the one year period

    Aim 2

    Reduced number of visits to GP by addressing decline in physical/mental health


    » Supporting clients to join activities

    What success will look like

    Success will be better levels of health and wellbeing

    Aim 3

    Increased levels of confidence for clients


    » Partner clients with Active Friends volunteers

    What success will look like

    Success will be an increase in the client's perceived confidence levels

  • Impact


    Long term changes will include better levels of health and wellbeing for older people in Southampton, reduced falls and older people staying in their own homes for longer. Southampton City COuncil data will help us to demonstrate this success.


    Our CRB, Safeguarding and Lone Working policies ensure that our clients are protected from harm.


    Donors will be added to our electronic mailing list (subject to permission) for updates on the project and it's success stories

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £29,798

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £14,443 Project Worker Coordinator to assess clients and place them with volunteers
      £4,350 Volunteer Coordinator Recruit and look after volunteers
      £2,160 Volunteer and Staff Expenses Travel
      £6,000 Project Management Staff Costs
      £2,845 Admin and Overheads Associated office costs and admin

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Lloyds Tsb Foundation £15,057 Conditional
  • Background


    In 2013 it is estimated that there will be over 12,000 people aged over 65 living alone in Southampton, and over 8000 of these people will be aged over 75 (General Household Survey 2007, table 3.4 Percentage of men and women living alone by age, ONS).

    Southampton contains a ward that ranks in the worst 10% in the UK for income deprivation affecting older people (Weston)


    Older people, living alone with little contact from friends or family.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Age Concern Southampton has been working to address loneliness and isolation in Southampton for over 50 years. We have over 150 volunteers to help us achieve our mission.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.



    Maria has a background in social work. She helps to assess our clients' needs and match them with volunteers by personality type.