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Home » Short Stories about Kindness » Link Friend helps keep loneliness at bay in older people.

Link Friend helps keep loneliness at bay in older people.

An elderly woman wearing a blue and white top with a blue cardigan, her previous volunteer, a person with short grey hair wearing a burgundy t-shirt sat at a table with three plates of food in front of them. Claire stands behind them. A beach and the sea are visible out of the window beside them.

Claire Ford started befriending her Link Friend, June, in 2020, initially as a telephone buddy and then face-to-face when it was safe to do so. She takes her out once a week for coffee or a meal, and phones her in between visits, telling us that she is “great fun and a pleasure to spend time with”.

As a special surprise Claire took June to the seaside for her 90 th birthday as her previous volunteer lives there and they had fish and chips on the sea front.

On top of this Claire makes beautiful decorations for the Summer and Christmas Parties plus helps us in the office with lots of admin tasks. “We think Claire is a star ⭐!” say the rest of the team.

The charity that kindness superstar Claire volunteers at is the The Link Visiting Scheme whose aim is to prevent, delay and reduce loneliness and social isolation, by promoting friendship and improving the health, wellbeing and independence of older residents throughout the Wokingham Borough. Their work relies on a team of 420 dedicated volunteer befrienders who build cherished relationships and bring companionship and joy to those struggling with loneliness.

Loneliness is seen by many as one of the largest health concerns we as a society face. It is harmful to our bodies as it puts us at a greater risk of developing dementia, heart disease and depression. It is so serious that it even shortens our life expectancy. Which makes the kindness that volunteer befrienders like Claire show even more powerful.