The Living Well Project embraces two strands of care within the community
The Living Well Befriending Service
and The Living Well Cafés
Currently 35 volunteer befrienders visit socially isolated and lonely older people over the age of 65 in their homes in the north of the city. Volunteers visit weekly to offer friendship and companionship. And the fourth Living Well Café at High Church Hilton was opened on 31st August 2017 to add to the existing Cafés based at Newhills, Oldmachar and Ferryhill Churches. With each Café running fortnightly, there are two Cafés open each week, on a Tuesday afternoon and Thursday afternoon, wonderfully supported by local volunteers and overseen by paid staff of the Project. Welcome to the Living Well Project!
Newhills Parish Church
The Living Well Project (TLWP) was formed as an independent charity in 2010 out of a perceived need within the Newhills community for supporting socially isolated individuals over the age of 65 years. Central to this process was the work and community sensitivity of Newhills Parish Church. As a congregation in Aberdeen, Newhills Church had long been aware of the isolation and loneliness of many of its local residents. Though various services, organisations and other opportunities to engage were available, not everyone, because of health issues, infirmity, lack of mobility and lack of confidence, was able to engage with these provisions. It became the desire of the church to reach out to those who were unable to access services and social activities. Befriending became a natural outcome and ministry that the church sought to offer. As a church community they believed that they should pursue this separately from their existing church pastoral care to ensure that everyone, whether within or outside the church, knew it was for them.
Newhills Parish Church seed funded the Project, and a constitution was agreed where each trustee would be a member of Newhills Church, though its work and functioning would operate independently. Within 12 months, under the valued leadership of Gillian Douglas, a Befriending Service was established with great support from Aberdeen Council for Voluntary Organisations (ACVO) and guidelines from Befriending Network Scotland. Half a dozen befrienders visited and brought much welcome human contact and hope, and that nucleus has grown over the years.
When discussions began in 2015 concerning creating a provision for those dealing with dementia, a different model of collaboration and recognising each other’s strengths emerged giving the church community the confidence to begin a partnership involving Aberdeen City Council, NHS Grampian, Alzheimer’s Scotland and the Living Well Project. The five years of work (2010 – 2015) produced by the Project made them a reliable and credible organisation to be the catalyst for starting cafés in a faith-based context, drawing in the professional expertise of other partners to signpost clients and patients towards the cafés and to provide training for volunteers who would be recruited through the churches.
The Project is overseen by a management team of 10 with various skills from business, health care and personal experience. Each member is a member of Newhills Church, and each staff member is an active christian in a variety of different churches across the city and beyond. The faith-based nature of the Project we believe is the driving force of all that we do, encouraged and shaped by confidence in God’s compassion for all, as we are made in his image. We welcome all to join with us as volunteers or to approach us for support and care. Please take a look around our website for more details.
Please see our funding page for the latest information.