Linking Lives UK works with churches and Christian organisations across the UK to reach and support isolated older people. This is achieved through local befriending projects in which volunteers regularly visit older people in their own homes, usually once a week for around one hour. Visits have a significant impact in addressing loneliness and social isolation; there is evidence that such activity can improve physical and mental health as well as self-confidence. Our approach also emphasises the fact that older people have much to offer to the rest of society, and we encourage our projects to value and celebrate the contributions and experiences of our elders.
We believe that the church has a distinctive and crucial role to play in addressing these issues and this includes responding to physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual needs. Our aim is to inspire, equip and resource churches and Christian organisations to develop effective responses in local communities which impact the lives of older people using the Linking Lives UK model.
Our approach is based on the work of a successful Berkshire charity which, in 2012, began to explore ways in which the model coulld be used elsewhere in the UK. In 2016, a separate new charity was registered to focus specifically on the national work. The name of ‘Linking Lives’ was chosen as we are working to draw people together to share quality time in a way that benefits everyone involved. In the same year, we were also privileged to receive a Silver Award for ‘Best Replicable Project’ at the Christian Funders Forum Awards.
During lockdown, we have developed an exciting new initiative called 'Two's Company' which is a telephone befriending model which churches can set up in their local community. Linking Lives UK provides the training and resources and there are currently almost 20 new proejcts operating across the UK.