Linking Lives Crofton Park (LLCP) is a befriending scheme that aims to confront and alleviate the effects of loneliness in the community. It operates from St Saviour’s church, Brockley Rise and has over 30 volunteers who help around the same number of isolated clients. Although originally set up as a Christian charity, most of the volunteers don’t come from a Church background and we welcome people to the scheme of all faiths or none!
My name is Sam and I’m the LLCP project coordinator and I have been for the last year and a half. I took over the role from the previous coordinator, Alma, who must be credited for the success of the scheme as she set it up and put so much energy and enthusiasm into it.
My job week to week is to meet loads of lovely volunteers and introduce them to the scheme and then match them with an appropriate client or ‘link-friend’. The link-friends are referred to us by GPs or social prescribers who feel like their patient could do with more social stimulation. It’s my job to go round and meet the potential link-friend, talk to them and make a suitability assessment, and then connect them to one of our brilliant volunteers, who will usually visit them once a week for 30 minutes to an hour. Over the pandemic this befriending happened mostly over the phone, and it is a lovely relief to be able to visit people in their homes and enjoy the spark of face-to-face contact again.
I love meeting such a diverse mix of generations, professions, backgrounds in the role and I believe the volunteers and link-friends get this out of the scheme too as they have a chance to meet different people from their community. We are always on the lookout for new volunteers so send me an email or call for a chat (details at the bottom)! Likewise, if you know someone who could benefit from a bit more company or is suffering from loneliness at all just give me a call or make a formal referral on our website: www.linkinglives.uk/project/croftonpark. Here, you can also find more information about the scheme.
LLCP has been going for about 5 years and some of our original volunteers are still with us. We try to meet as a group of volunteers once a month at the Brockley Jack Pub for a drink and a catch up about our experiences on the scheme and life generally. There’s now a new Linking Lives scheme that has just sprung up in Bellingham and is just getting going and we have been in contact to share ideas and strategies.
We apply for outside funding regularly from government or businesses, but befriending schemes like ours cost money to run. Please do get in touch if you would like to donate in anyway or know any businesses or funds that might be interested in supporting LLCP. Getting people in the community back together is now more important than ever!
LLCP Coordinator: Sam Story
Phone: 07561 287620