The Volunteer Link Scheme (VLS) is a registered charity (no 1072538) established in 1994. We provide one-to-one volunteer befriending to people within the London Borough of Ealing who are socially isolated as a result of physical, sensory, cognitive or psychological impairment.
We currently have 3 areas of support:
Supporting isolated and lonely people
This is the service we have been running since 1994, which usually supports older people who live alone and have very little, if any, social support. Our befriending volunteers support lonely and isolated people, through regular visiting and meet-ups. Volunteers usually visit or meet-up every week for one and a half to two hours. The purpose of the visit is to provide companionship, emotional and social support. This service is usually long-term, for as long as it is needed
Dementia Befriending Service
We have recently started to support older adults with cognitive impairment, or a diagnosis of mild dementia. We are working together with Dementia Concern to provide training for our volunteers. This service is usually long-term, for as long as it is needed. As part of this service, we are also able to provide a short respite break for carers who struggle to go out due to their caring responsibilities. This will be a weekly break of around 2 hours while the volunteer is visiting.
This is our new Mental Health Befriending Project, which we have set up jointly with Mind in Ealing and Hounslow. This service is to support clients who are isolated because of mental health problems. Befrienders are able to help their clients gain confidence in who they are and are able to help them explore what they would like to do, whether that is; getting a job, joining a club, or meeting other people. Our service is time limited to a year and we would hope that by the end of the year our clients feel better about themselves & are linked in to their community. We hope to have helped them feel valued, resilient, empowered and equipped for their journeys in recovery.
With all the above projects, volunteers are not there to provide practical assistance and are not able to provide any personal care. Volunteers are fully supported with their volunteering by Volunteer Link staff.
In June 2016, the VLS was re-awarded the Approved Provider Standard (APS) which lasts for three years. APS is a national benchmark for organisations providing one-to-one, volunteer mentoring or befriending and is awarded by the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation.
Alec Atchison (Chair)
Olivier Uyttenhove (Treasurer)
Rachel Hill Director
Jill Shaw Befriending Coordinator
Maggie Faley Befriending Coordinator
Bridget Morris Volunteer Coordinator
Susan Gilchrist Befriending Coordinator-Linked Minds Project
Margaret Majumdar Admin Volunteer