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Our mission statement: "The objects of the Scheme are to relieve the stresses experienced by people with physical or sensory impairment and their carers within the family or home in the London Borough of Ealing by offering a respite service through the provision of volunteer befrienders"
The Volunteer Link Scheme (VLS) is a registered charity that was set up in 1994. Our aim is to relieve loneliness experienced by isolated and housebound people across the borough of Ealing. We run a befriending service, which is delivered by trained volunteers who make weekly visits to an isolated client for about two hours. We are the only service like this that works across the borough and currently we have 58 trained volunteers visiting 69 clients every week, meaning that our volunteers make over 2,500 every year. Our clients are mostly older people (86% are aged 75 plus) and all are housebound without assistance - in other words they need help to leave their own home.
Because of their situation our clients suffer from severe loneliness which can lead to other mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. The Campaign to end Loneliness states "research shows that loneliness and social isolation are harmful to our health: lacking social connections is worse for us than well-known risk factors such as obesity and physical inactivity." The people that we reach are the invisible population, disadvantaged people who are completely isolated and hidden away in their own homes.