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.

25 October 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 an ongoing challenge.

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 challenge.

Member website

2. Actions

  • Promote Link Age Southwark's dementia services

    We promote our dementia specific services using social media, regular newsletters and participation in COPSINS and the SDAA. We work collaboratively with arts and community organisations within the borough and are committed to community outreach.

  • Offer escorted transport to our dementia specific groups

    To encourage participation in our dementia specific groups we provide either volunteer drivers or escorted travel in taxis to our groups and organised social events for participants who require this additional support.

  • Develop carer support services

    We will research, plan and deliver carer support services in collaboration with our partner organisations in the borough. We plan to deliver a support group for carers of people living with dementia.

    We will explore options for supporting ex-carers.

  • Support dementia specific befriending relationships

    We recruit and support volunteers to befriend people with dementia. We are committed to growing this service and we operate a careful matching process to ensure enduring relationships.  

    We offer dementia awareness sessions to our volunteers run by Dementia Friends champions. 

  • Establish and run a singing group for people with dementia in central Southwark

    In May 2018 we started the Musical Memories group within a local sheltered housing environment. This accessible group runs on a weekly basis and includes people with dementia, their carers and residents of the sheltered housing. Everyone is welcome, at whatever stage of their dementia.

  • Deliver dementia specific groups in south Southwark area

    We deliver a peer social group and reading group for people with dementia.