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Silver Linings

Where: Hackney, London

Project type: Helping to tackle social isolation

Silver Linings was a two-year programme for those over the age of 50 that aimed to find ways to tackle social isolation in older people as well as offering participants opportunities to get involved in local Hackney projects that benefited the wider community.

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. Joan, Silver Liner. 

The main focus behind the Silver Linings initiative was to provide an environment for older people where they could socialise and volunteer which in turn helped to reduce social isolation and loneliness in the older generation.

By giving the groups the power to facilitate and run their own clubs it allowed the Silver Liners to feel empowered and needed by their local community and to ensured that they could still actively play a role in bettering the local area.

The Silver Linings project was devised to help support older people to create their own solutions to reduce social isolation through volunteering. It has had a positive impact on many people’s lives. Clare Norwood, Groundwork Project Coordinator.

Over the two year period, the Silver Liners established four Silver Linings clubs including helping to run the 'Craft for a Cause Club', 'Get Fit While You Sit', 'Mosaic Makeover Club' and Cook’n’Share clubs at Groundwork London’s office and Free Range Garden.

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

The Silver Liners hosted regular 'Tea and Talk' sessions, created festive wreaths, grew herb pots to sell and made over 150 items to help people stay warm including blankets, hot water bottle covers, hats, and scarves.

They also created a 'Get Fit While You Sit Kit' which allowed them to do chair based exercise that in turn opened up conversations about the issues surrounding limited mobility and promoted the importance of keeping active. 

Anyone who volunteered at the Silver Linings clubs or their 'pass-it-on' activities, were sent a monthly personalised handwritten 'thank you' cards and vouchers that they could use in local shops.

Between all the participants, the Silver Liners have clocked up over 3,000 volunteer hours that have been invested in the individual projects and have lent a hand to over 600 people in Hackney.

I’ve loved coming here and I’ve loved doing all the activities.  Every one of them has been so interesting when I think back over all of them that we’ve done over the past two years. Hannah, Silver Liner. 

Silver Linings was delivered by Groundwork London as part of the Connect Hackney programme. Connect Hackney is managed by Hackney CVS and funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Ageing Better programme. It is part of the unique £78 million strategic investment that aims to reduce social isolation for older people locally and nationally.