Lincolnshire Cares began life as ‘Caistor Cares’, and was established by a group of volunteers in the town in January 2016. At that meeting concerns were raised about increasing levels of social isolation throughout the UK, especially in rural areas, with Age UK stating that “there are over one million people in the UK that haven’t spoken to anyone for over one month”.
A committee was created, working in close association with Friendship at Home, a charity offering a similar service to people in North East Lincolnshire. In December 2019, Caistor Cares received official charitable status from the Charity Commission and now operates under the ‘Lincolnshire Cares’ banner as we seek to expand this important service into other towns and villages in the county.
Our committee and network of volunteers meet regularly, with training being provided in areas such as Safeguarding, First Aid and Dementia Awareness. Age UK (the UK’s largest charity working with older people) are now referring Members to us in our designated area.
Lincolnshire Cares’ primary focus is our Befriending Service. Our coordinators meet all potential members (as well as our volunteers) and take great care to match people with interests or circumstances in common, that will enable their friendship to strengthen and grow.
To ensure everyone’s safety and security, all volunteers are interviewed, with references taken, a Police check made, and trained before any introductions are made.
The Lincolnshire Cares committee is keen to make a positive impact on social isolation, and it is our intention that our Befriending Service is the first of several schemes to be developed in the future. From humble beginnings, we have already increased our area of operation, enabling us to offer our services further afield.