Link Age Southwark

Link Age Southwark is a vibrant local volunteering charity with an impressive track record of supporting older people to thrive in later life. Our mission is to help older people stay connected with their communities, alleviating loneliness, improving health and well-being and making communities stronger through volunteering. We recruit, train and manage volunteers to deliver services to older people, including those living with dementia, across Southwark. Our dementia service offers befriending relationships. We support volunteer befrienders to visit people with dementia at home every week for activities such as walking, chatting, reading and playing games. Our experienced staff run three groups designed for people with dementia, offering a range of physically and mentally stimulating activities in an enjoyable and safe environment. We provide escorted transport to enable people with dementia to leave the home setting and participate in our groups, parties and outings.

7 September 2018
Voluntary Sector, Charity
Local Alliances:
Southwark Dementia Action Alliance

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

In a recent survey of Southwark residents with a diagnosis of dementia, more than 60% said they wanted access to better support including befriending, information and advice. 

As a provider of friendly volunteer support to older people, we ensure that all our staff and volunteers treat people with dementia with respect and are helpful and supportive, delivering services which meet every individual’s needs.

Through our services Link Age Southwark supports people with dementia to live well and maintain their independence in the community for as long as possible. Our service users with dementia are able to access our full range of groups in addition to the specialist groups for people with mild to moderate dementia.  This enables people to maintain a social life and to remain connected to the wider community around them.  For those lacking confidence and ability to leave home alone, our escorted transport enables continued participation in our services which increases well-being.

The befriending relationship provided by our trained volunteers helps reduce isolation and loneliness that can follow a diagnosis of dementia.

We are committed to working closely with local communities, businesses, services and charities to make Southwark a dementia friendly borough. 

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

Recruiting volunteers with suitable availability to befriend people with dementia is sometimes challenging.

Providing escorted transport to enable people with dementia to attend our groups is financially challenging. Recruiting volunteer drivers for our daytime groups is an ongoing issue.

Member website

2. Actions

  • All staff will become Dementia Friends

    Our organisation is committed to all staff becoming dementia friends and receiving training from a dementia champion.   


    2015 - First Quarter Update

    April-2015- All of our staff at Dulwich Helpline and Southwark Churches care have been dementia trained and we provide dementia training to our existing volunteers who work with people with dementia so that we can be a more dementia friendly organisation.  We have revised our induction for all new volunteers so that it contains information about dementia which was previously provided only to volunteers who wanted to befriend someone with dementia.  This way all volunteers in our organisation know about dementia, making the organisation more dementia friendly as a whole

  • We will provide services to enable people with dementia in Southwark to live as independently as possible in their local community for as long as possible.

    We will facilitate groups that people with dementia can attend so that they can meet with their peers and maintain a healthy social life.  Our peer support group will provide a group forum where people with a recent diagnosis of dementia can talk about their condition among peers and not feel alone. We will extend our befriending service to explicitly include people with dementia who are living independently in the community. 


    2015 - First Quarter Update

    We run two groups specifically for people with early to moderate dementia; initially they were once a month but due to the interest and their popularity they are now running twice a month.  We have a reading group, which now has an average of 7 people every fortnight and we have a peer group .New people are being referred to these groups all the time. These groups are helping people with dementia remain active in society, allowing more social contact with others, developing confidence, and supporting people to continue to be as independent as possible and live life to its fullest.  Internal evaluations carried out highlight the success of these groups.

  • We will provide advice and support to family members who look after loved ones with dementia.

    In conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Society we will deliver a monthly peer group for carers who are family members of people with dementia.  Here we provide any information that they may require to make things as easy for people as possible when caring for their loved one.  We also aim to deliver a new service supporting family carers by providing them with a volunteer telephone befriender who will chat to them once a week, socially to relieve some of the stress they face as a result of their caring role.


    2015 - First Quarter Update

    April 2015- We  help run a Carers support group for people who care for a family member with dementia, with the Alzheimer’s Society.  This is well attended, with new people attending regularly on a transient basis: some come and stay for many sessions; others just one or 2.  

  • Offering our services to people with dementia of any age.

    Our services will be offered to people with dementia of any age.


    2015 - First Quarter Update

    April 2015-Our services are now open to people with dementia under 60 and we currently have one member in this category who has a befriender. We are hoping to increase our numbers in the under 60’s with dementia as word gets out.