Project information

London Telephone Communities for older people

London Telephone Communities brings together older people who are lonely or isolation in groups on the phone, providing them with a vital connection to the world outside of their home and improving health and well-being.


Charity information: Community Network

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  • Need


    The project combats social isolation and loneliness experienced by over 60s in London. Feeling lonely and isolated has real effects on health and well-being. The elderly are at higher risk of experiencing their ill effects. it's estimated that 422,000 people over the age of 75 living in London feel lonely (IPPR, 2011). Data shows that in deprived urban neighbourhoods in the capital such as Hackney rates of loneliness among older people rise to twice the national average (Scharf 2011).


    The project brings together older Londoners in groups to the phone to form Telephone Communities. The project will connect between 4 to 8 older people in telephone groups with the aim of reducing their loneliness and improving well-being. Groups meet on the telephone weekly or fortnightly, depending on the needs of the group to talk about topics of their choosing. Telephone Communities are facilitated by trained volunteers and supported by our Social Inclusion Manager.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To reduce loneliness and isolation in older people in London.


    » Run 20 fortnightly peer led Telephone Community groups a year for people over 60 living in London.
    » Train and support 10 volunteers to facilitate Telephone Community group calls.
    » Support Telephone Community group members who are physically active to access social activities in their local communities.
    » Hold 3 beneficiary advisory group meetings per year.

    What success will look like

    No. of people actively participating in phone groups.
    No. of people accessing activities locally.
    No. of people volunteering as group facilitators.

  • Impact


    *Reduced isolation
    *Reduced feelings of loneliness
    *Improved mental health & wellbeing
    *Improved social engagement
    *Improved confidence and self esteem

    Baseline and repeated monitoring surveys include the Warwick Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale, questions about social activities and contacts, feeling of loneliness. Results consistently shows an improvement in mental well-being.

    Feedback from group members and facilitators are used to build on the service and to compile case studies.


    *Not recruiting enough group members - we have excellent relationships with local organisations who refer people to us regularly.
    *Volunteers leave - we have a bank of volunteer facilitators who support groups.
    *Groups are used to groom vulnerable adults. Calls are randomly recorded for monitoring purposes and a member of staff's in regular contact with volunteer facilitators and members.
    *We create dependency on groups - we facilitate safe contact between members once groups are established


    We'll produce an annual evaluation report in October. Case studies and interim statistics on outcomes for group beneficiaries are available on request and we are happy to provide reports to donors about the project, it's outcomes and how their money is being used to reduce loneliness and isolation

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £49,452

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £28,780 Salaries Salary of Social inclusion manager 24.5 hours per week.
      £6,170 Admin & overheads Project admin, overheads & management
      £14,502 Telephone groups Costs of running telephone groups

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    City Bridge Trust £18,623 Guaranteed
    The Austin & Hope Pilkington Trust £1,000 Guaranteed
    Mercers' Company Charity £10,000 Guaranteed
    Event fundraising £1,300 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The project will support beneficiaries living in Greater London. Cuts in services at local level mean that older people in the capital have fewer social outlets.


    Many of the older people we work with in London do not see another person from week to week. Many of them have a disability, live with ill health, or are caring for a relative. Some have simply having become disconnected from friends and family all make it difficult for people to link socially to their peers.
    These are people who tell us they rely on voices on the television and radio to make them feel less alone and many do not talk to another human being from week to week.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Community Network has been running telephone groups for isolated and excluded people since 1989. We are acknowledged as leaders in our field and provide telephone facilitation training and advice for other organisations starting up telephone groups. We work in close partnership with The Phone Co-op who run our teleconferencing service. We run a national Telephone Communities project for ex-Seafarers, run groups for The Silver Line and are a national partner on Age UK's fit as a fiddle project.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Christopher Robertson

    Christopher is Social Inclusion Manager, manages the project, does community outreach, supports volunteer facilitators and group members.

    Michelle Ballantyne

    Deputy Chief Executive and trainer. Michelle trains volunteers to take on the role of telephone group facilitator.


    Don is one of our brilliant volunteer facilitators, he is an experienced trainer who is also trained to deliver telephone group facilitation training

Telephone Communities


connects a lonely elder to their peers for a week.

“I used to get so very low for days at a time, so the weekly telephone chats with the other ladies is a lifeline for someone in my situation.”

Pearl, 85