AccessCare launches new Social Links service
Published on 11 December 2023
In an effort to help our clients and members of our community to meet new people and build stronger social connections, AccessCare has launched a brand-new service called Social Links.
Through this service, clients are matched with a dedicated volunteer, and then supported to spend quality time together doing a social activity of the client’s choosing.
These activities could include going out to lunch or for a walk along the beach, attending a class at the local community centre, or simply having a cup of tea and a chat at the client’s home. The activities will naturally vary depending on the clients’ interests and mobility, but what's most important is that volunteers and clients have regular and meaningful contact with each other.
“At AccessCare, we have supported our clients to get out and about in the community and socialise with like-minded people through programs such as our community bus, but following the pandemic, we knew we wanted to do more to help foster good mental health among our clients,” says Margie Hanrahan, AccessCare’s manager.
“Social isolation is a big problem in older communities, particularly if people live alone or are the primary carer for a loved one. We are therefore committed to doing everything we can to help our clients, and our community at large, to build social connections. This is why we launched the Social Links service.”
The service operates thanks to the generosity of volunteers of all ages and backgrounds. As AccessCare is a City of Kingston service, all our volunteers are strictly vetted and must have a current National Police Check and Working with Children Check.
“I enjoy volunteering because I like meeting people who I can help in some way, and it keeps me involved in my community,” says Social Links volunteer Rose, who joins AccessCare client Anne for walks to their favourite local coffee shop.
“Communication is a basic need that lessens loneliness, depression and anxiety, [yet] not all clients have friends and family to communicate with and express their opinions to. This service is valuable to those people who lack interaction with others.”
AccessCare understands how valuable services like this can be for clients and volunteers alike, having operated volunteer services for many years, including its volunteer transport and meal delivery services.
“Being able to spend time with another person, have a chat and do something that brings you joy, whatever that is, can be so powerful for your mental health, and we are very excited to start connecting our lovely clients with some incredible volunteers from within our community,” says Margie.
AccessCare is actively recruiting for Social Links volunteers. Anyone interested in finding out more is encouraged to reach out to Belinda Huggins, AccessCare’s volunteer coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.