Link Age Southwark

Dulwich Helpline and Southwark Churches Care is a small local charity based in Southwark. Our free services are designed to reduce isolation and loneliness and enable older people to socialise, make friends and enjoy themselves in the community. We offer befriending for less mobile residents, and host 20 groups, including reading, reminiscence, gentle exercise, & social gatherings for tea and coffee. Our dementia services consist of befriending and two groups for people who are in the early stages of dementia. We host a reading group to allow socialisation and discussion of literary topics and a peer group where people can gather socially and discuss any topics of interest, and take part in activities. We also co-host a peer group with the Alzheimer’s Society, for family carers of people with dementia, giving them a place to go to gain advice, support.

12 December 2017
Voluntary Sector
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?

Dulwich Helpline and Southwark Churches Care (DH&SCC) is committed to reducing isolation and loneliness among people with dementia; to supporting people dementia and their carers to live well independently for as long as possible; and to  valuing the contributions people with dementia make to our local community.


As a provider of friendly volunteer support to older people, we want to 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.


We have a role to play in supporting people with dementia to live independently in the community and to continue to live the life they would like to live for as long as possible. Our groups for people with mild-moderate dementia and our groups for those with and without dementia enable people to maintain a social life and to remain connected to the wider community around them.


We work closely with other charities and provide information on other groups and organisations which run social events for people with dementia, so individuals have more choice. We also provide advice and support to family carers of people with dementia so that they are supported in their role.


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

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

One of the biggest challenges we face is providing transport to enable people with dementia to attend our groups if they are unable to travel independently on public transport. Community transport schemes are patchy, and the cost of taxis and minibuses to and from our groups for people with dementia is high.


Attracting, training and retaining volunteers to work with people who have dementia, particularly for our befriending scheme, is challenging.

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.