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Project information

Tackling loneliness amongst older people

We want to tackle loneliness amongst older people in Southwark by connecting them to our lively social groups. These exercise and activity groups meet during the day in the community and are run by dedicated volunteers. We want to run more groups and reach more people!

December 2018 - September 2019

Charity information: Link Age Southwark

Link Age Southwark logo
  • Need


    Over half of older people consider the television to be their main source of company. As we age, our mobility decreases, our social networks may shrink and we may not be able to leave the house as much as we used to. This leaves older people at risk of loneliness and social isolation which can have a damaging impact on their health. Isolated people are at a greater risk of experiencing serious physical and mental health problems and are more likely to visit their GP or A&E.


    Our exercise and activity groups help to ensure that the older people we work with can age healthily and happily, continue to learn, remain mobile, develop and maintain meaningful relationships and remain part of their local community. This project will help us to reach more older people in need of a little extra social contact. Our group evaluations confirm that the groups have a clear social function and increase attendee’s energy levels.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Deliver welcoming exercise and activity groups for older people, including tea and biscuits!


    » Recruit volunteers to run the groups
    » Book exercise tutors for our classes
    » Find venues to host our groups
    » Prepare resources and promotional materials

    What success will look like

    Run 25 groups meeting 750 times with 4200 attendances

  • Impact


    Through the project we hope to reduce loneliness and isolation, increase self-confidence and improve the quality of life of the older people we work with. We take time to understand the impact of our work. We have clear goals, a theory of change to help us understand what we do and why, and we use a range of tools including surveys, focus groups, independent evaluations, social return on investment studies and monitoring to measure the changes that result from our work.


    Our Board of Trustees maintains a Risk Register to identify and review the risks to which the charity is exposed and to ensure appropriate controls are in place to provide reasonable assurance against fraud and error. Our Risk Register is reviewed and updated annually, with appropriate mitigation measures put in place. At every trustee meeting, the top three risks are highlighted by the Director and discussed if necessary.


    Donors will receive a personalised thank you letter for their donation with a copy of our Impact Report if they are donating for the first time. They will also receive our bi-annual donor newsletter which provides regular updates on our group activities.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £25,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £8,000 Tutor Costs To provide qualified professional exercise tutors for our groups
      £8,000 Transport Costs To ensure people with disabilities and mobility problems are able to attend our groups
      £1,000 Group Resources To ensure we have a great mix of physically and mentally stimulating activities
      £1,000 Publicity Materials To help us publicise our groups locally and reach more isolated older people
      £7,000 Staff Costs Contribution towards salary costs of experienced staff supporting our groups
  • Background


    Southwark is a flourishing London borough with a growing population. Need for our services continues to grow steadily as the population ages and levels of isolation grow. Over 9000 people over 65 live alone in Southwark and the population of over 90s is set to double over the next decade. There is a particular demand for our services from house-bound people over the age of 80 and from people living with dementia.


    Our services are open to anyone over the age of 60 living in Southwark. Many experience or are at risk of social isolation and loneliness. The median age of our service users is 83; 21% are over 90 years old; 65% are over 80 years old; 30% considered themselves to be disabled when they joined our service; 77% are women; 24% are from BAME backgrounds. We receive referrals from GPs, other health professionals, social workers, charities, older people themselves and from family and friends.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    In 2017, we surveyed all of our older members to get feedback on the difference Link Age Southwark makes to their lives. Our service users told us we make a profound impact on the quality of their lives, making them feel less lonely and improving their wellbeing. 92% said they are happy or very happy with our services, 96% were happy or very happy with our groups and 85% said that they feel less lonely since using our services.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Hilary Payne

    Senior Services Co-Ordination - Hilary leads the services team and looks after 7 of our groups.

    Sue Yeomans

    Service Co-Ordinator - Sue has worked at Link Age Southwark for 18 years and looks after some of our most popular groups.

    Gemma Kern

    Older People Services Officer - Gemma is responsible for looking after 7 groups, including our Singing and Men’s Groups.

    Cynan Williams

    Volunteering & Services Officer - Cynan arranges the transport to and from our activity groups.