The hArt Silverlinks Project
The Silverlinks organisation has already been helping older people to get back into the swing of things as part of a caring community. Their trained volunteers provide free home visits to discuss any specific worry or anxiety affecting their clients’ health or preventing them from enjoying life to the full.
The Silverlinks volunteers talk through their clients’ problems, suggesting possible solutions, which Silverlinks helps to arrange if required, enabling them to feel better, healthier and more in control of their lives.
Problems covered can include, for example, lack of social contact, low income, utility bills, housing issues, Powers of Attorney and wills, using computers and email, form filling, accessing GPs, dentists and hospitals, Attendance Allowance, Housing Benefit, Blue Badge, Council Tax, a bereavement, Alzheimers diagnosis, letter writing, or just talking things through.
Referrals can come from a relative, friend, neighbour, health professional or social care specialist.
No charges are made or expected; however, clients may make a donation if they wish.
In line with hArt’s Constitutional aim of supporting older people and addressing loneliness and isolation, we are delighted to welcome Silverlinks as an official hArt project. This means that we can fundraise and grow the project to offer maximum benefit and to partner with other charities where appropriate.
Silverlinks was established by Celia Burgess MBE, and she is managing the Silverlinks project as one of the hArt Team.
Celia has worked for Citizens Advice as adviser and manager in Poole, New Milton and Lymington. She also worked for Age Concern in Christchurch and was Business Development Manager for HOPe.
She has lived in the New Forest for forty years and has known Annie Jeffery for almost as long! She is passionate about supporting the community here and in particular the older people, who have contributed so much and who are so often taken for granted. She knows that older people everywhere feel lonely and isolated from time to time, though they always insist that they’re fine and ‘don’t want to bother anyone’.
Silverlinks is her idea for demonstrating how, as a joined-up community, local volunteers can help. She says:
There is so much goodwill out there! If we all work together, we can really make a difference. Silverlinks helps to remove the immediate worry and then we try to get older people interested in joining in as well.
hArt is actively seeking funding to support and extend Silverlinks’ activities. This project fits well with hArt’s aims of supporting older people, and we hope that the scheme will develop into offering not only practical support and help, but social contact and creative work in a community setting. It actively encourages clients to use their own skills and interests, engage with social groups and contribute to our community.
Please contact us if you have a couple of hours a week to spare and would like to volunteer with Silverlinks, or if you think that you could benefit from our services.