Leicester Western Ward Linking Lives is a church led local befriending service for people over the age of 60 who are lonely and socially isolated in the Western Ward of Leicester. The Western Ward covers: New Parks, Braunstone Frith, Kirby Frith, Dane Hills and Western Park.
Those most at need may be; those with family that live far away or with no living relatives, or older relatives, those with mobility problems, the house bound, those who suffer from illness, those recently bereaved. The list is endless as to why people become lonely but we can do something about it – we can make a difference.
We have a team of volunteers waiting to be a friend to a lonely person over the age of 60 in the Western Ward of Leicester. All our volunteers are trained to be a friend, they will not do chores, personal care or shopping, but they will brighten the day of the person they are visiting by spending time with them.
Our volunteers undergo DBS checks, reference checks and interviews, as well as participating in a training package, it can be a long process to become a volunteer.
I, the scheme coordinator, will visit an older person in their home to get to know them a little, there will be a lot of questions at this visit but it is to ensure we match them with the volunteer best suited to them, in order to provide the best chance of a true friendship developing. We can then provide weekly visits to reduce the level of loneliness experienced by the older person.
We will make a difference 1 friendship at a time. We will share God’s love through sharing the gift of friendship. This service is available for everyone and is a free service.
Why we feel this service is needed
Within this area there are people that haven’t seen anyone for days, maybe even weeks. Changes that have occurred within communities across the UK have led to a lack of communication and social interaction between neighbours, ladies that return to work soon after having a child do not have the free time to spend with neighbours, friends or elderly relatives, there is an extreme pressure for people to be employed in a paid working role again reducing the time available to socialise with older friends or relatives, those that do not work often have health needs of their own to contend with and are then unable to care for others. These changes to society have been detrimental in the Western Ward of Leicester. Age UK have produced a loneliness heat map, the centre of New Parks is considered to be a Very high risk area, with other areas in the Western Ward ranking only very slightly lower.
Loneliness is a social disease, Various research reports have found; loneliness increases your risk of high blood pressure, stroke and coronary heart disease (Hawkley et al, 2010, and Valtorta at al, 2016). While James et al 2011 and Holwerda et al 2012, recognised links between loneliness and dementia. You can see the negative impact loneliness has on the health and wellbeing of a person, it also reduces confidence, affects their mobility, and can lead to depression. Academic research is clear that preventing or alleviating loneliness is vital to enable older people to remain independent. For more statistical information visit the Campaign to end loneliness website. #EndLoneliness
If you feel you would like help with our work;
Donations are gratefully received and Volunteers are always welcome – the more volunteers we have the more people we can help, click the link below to contact details and get in touch with us.
You can donate using our giving page – https:/www.give.net/LWWLL
If you would like to refer someone to us or self refer click the link below to contact details and get in touch.
Link to Contact Details