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Silver Linings

Silver Linings is a supported volunteering project devised and delivered by Groundwork London for people over 50 to lend a hand in Hackney, with the aim to reduce the risk of social isolation.


The project consists of a series of informal clubs where Silver Liners benefit from regular social interaction, learn new skills and give back to their community. In 2017 the group were shortlisted in the Community Action category at the Mayor of London’s Team London Awards.


We aim for every Silver Liner to have the following experience:

  • The support to socialise and connect
  • The support to do meaningful activity
  • The support to refresh or learn new skills
  • The support to lend a hand and help others
  • The support to broaden their outlook and build a network
  • The support to feel useful and be recognised


Silver Linings began with four original clubs and was part of Connect Hackney, coordinated by City and Hackney Together, (a wholly owned subsidiary of Hackney CVS), funded by the Big Lottery Ageing Better programme:

Cook n’ Share Club- where Silver Liners shared recipes and took turns cooking a fortnightly feast. They also achieved Level 2 qualifications in Food Safety and volunteered to grow salad and tend the hens in the Groundwork garden. The eggs collected were used for baking cakes that were taken to the local hospice, where they ran reminiscence Tea n’ Talk sessions

Get Fit While You Sit Club
– a social exercise club consisting of fun but effective chair based exercises, culminating in the Silver Liners designing their very own Get Fit While You Sit kit so that others could practice the moves at home

Craft for a Cause Clubwhere Silver Liners exercised their creative side and hand-crafted items that were donated to isolated older people from Hackney Volunteering & Befriending Service

Mosaic Makeover Club– working with the local community Silver Liners helped to refresh the entrance signage to the Fellows Court community centre, creating mosaic panels to add a splash of colour

The project attracted older people with a wide range of problems and issues, with the capacity and accessibility to allow for each Silver Liner to be given the attention they deserve, so that they could feel comfortable and relaxed enough to let down their guard and meet others whilst taking part in meaningful activities within a group setting at the individuals own pace.


Silver Liner feedback:

 It really did me good being a Silver Liner, you think you have got all the problems of the world, it was so good for me to help host at The ‘Craft for a Cause’ Tea Party and talk to the guests who were so isolated, but who were so interesting. Being in their company, it softened my own problems for me. Silver Liners are helping themselves by being there and helping others, I really get it.


Some people came despite feeling unwell as the sessions were so important to them.


Joan said

Well the people, the people that come. They’re all nice. Everyone is nice to one another, it’s a lovely time.  And if you are sitting indoors on your own and you know that you have that to look forward to it’s comforting.

Elaine said

We all feel like we are contributing. It's wonderful. You work so hard and we all benefit.


Results from a participant on the project showed a 20% perceived increase in health. Whilst an evaluation on wellbeing found that for every pound of funding that was invested in Silver Linings, Groundwork London created £2.67 of wellbeing.


This project reflected the huge impact supported volunteering can make to older people at risk of or who are already socially isolated.


Current Silver Linings projects

The pilot project ended in 2017 however since then Groundwork London received funding from separate organisations to continue with two of the Silver Linings Clubs.

Take a look at our current Silver Linings Clubs: