Project information

Shopping Angels

To support elderly people to access supermarkets and be able to complete their own shopping in local shops. We aim to increase independence, improve well being and reduce isolation and loneliness using volunteers to support small groups and encourage development of lasting friendships.

1 year

Charity information: Bexley Voluntary Service Council Limited

Bexley Voluntary Service Council Limited logo
  • Need


    It is believed that over 1 million people aged 65 years and over in the UK are at risk of malnutrition with many older people struggling to be able to access local shops to do their shopping . The UK also has a growing loneliness problem with over a quarter of our population only having any social interaction less than once a week. Research shows that this can be as harmful to our health as regular smoking can be.


    A volunteer will take 2-3 elderly people in from a close geographical area to complete their shopping with the aim of building a peer network. The volunteer will support their group weekly or fortnightly and will encourage social bonds to be formed between service users that can be continued outside of the project. The volunteer will support the group providing physical access, reassurance and support to continue to be able to use local shops and maintain their health and well-being.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To reduce isolation and loneliness in older people


    » To match people in a close geographical area to form a shopping group. To offer support and befriending from a volunteer each week

    Evaluation of baseline set at start of work and reviewed bi-monthly
    Volunteer diaries
    Case studies
    Seeking views of family/friends/agencies

    Aim 2

    To increase confidence, independence and choices


    » A volunteer will take older vulnerable people to a supermarket or high street and support their shopping allowing them to continue being independent

    Evaluation of baseline set at start of work and reviewed bi-monthly
    Volunteer diaries
    Case studies
    Seeking views of family/friends/agencies

    Aim 3

    To improve mental and physical well-being of older people


    » To provide greater access to supermarkets to ensure good nutrition. To build a social group with befriender support to improve mental well being

    Evaluation of baseline set at start of work and reviewed bi-monthly
    Volunteer diaries
    Case studies
    Seeking views of family/friends/agencies

  • Impact


    The overall effect of this project will be to significantly enhance the independence, choice and wellbeing of older people that are currently isolated at home due to poor health, lack of support or few friends or family. A strategic plan for continued access to a shopping service that promotes independence and social relationships.
    The project will be demonstrated by the number of referrals, number of people supported per quarter, feedback and questionnaires from service users.


    Difficulty in recruiting volunteers: we have prior experience of this and the difficulties involved meaning that we have already developed the most effective ways to reduce this risk.
    Low referral numbers: We are developing existing relationships and have been building new ones with people/agencies who have regular contact with older people. 'Older people and Loneliness' is currently a priority in local strategic plans and there is enthusiasm and drive to make it successful.


    We will provide quarterly reports and infographics based on service user feedback, volunteer feedback and referral figures. Individual case studies presented in video and photographic format. Where appropriate, interviews with the older person, their friends, family and relevant support agencies.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £4,850

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      Amount Heading Description
      £1,000 Recruitment process Recruiting volunteers to support groups
      £750 Training Holding thorough 2 day induction course including DBS checks
      £500 Marketing Developing flyers and information sheets for potential service users and local organisations
      £1,600 Expenses Re-imbursement of reasonable expenses for volunteers
      £1,000 Staffing Co-ordinating service, supervision & support of volunteers
  • Background


    We will focus at first on 4 areas of our borough which have been identified as having the highest rate of older people, with an estimated 3720 older people experiencing loneliness. There is a mix of gender, ethnicity and socio-economic backgrounds


    Older people over 65 years old who are identified as lonely or isolated/having limited social interactions. Older people who experience difficulty in getting to shops, do not eat healthily, would like to shop in their high street and choose purchases but are unable to, and older people who would like to make friends. Older people who experience very limited choices in terms of shopping and of opportunities to make friends. Older people who would benefit from making choices about their life.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Volunteer Centre Bexley, as part of the BVSC (Bexley Voluntary Service Council) has very good and strong links with organisations throughout the borough who work with our target service users. As the Volunteer Centre for the borough we are the first stop for all volunteers looking for placements and have the experience and expertise to recruit, train and manage volunteers to run projects such as this, by matching the skills of volunteers with identified needs.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Kara Lee

    Volunteer Project Co-ordinator

I still want to do my own shopping but it's a struggle now to get there on my own. Having someone to help me makes such a difference