ACE Neighbours was a peer support programme funded by LinkAge Network and delivered by St Monica Trust in Hartcliffe, Withywood and Keynsham. The project ran until December 2019 and involved older volunteers supporting older adults to become more active and to engage with their local community.

The project is continuing to run in Filwood and Lawrence Hill until August 2020. For more information on making a referral or becoming a volunteer call ACE Neighbours Project Officer Kathleen on 0796 492 3032 or email her on

What did ACE do?

  • ACE Neighbours matched volunteers (aged 60+) with older isolated adults (aged 65+) who wanted to get out more often.
  • Volunteers were DBS checked, trained and visited older people in their homes. Together, the older person and the volunteer would find out what the older person was interested in doing and the volunteer provided a list of activities in the area.
  • The volunteer accompanied the older person to an activity until such time as the older person was confident and comfortable attending on their own.
  • The volunteer kept in touch with the older person, helping to motivate them to stay active over a six month period.
  • As well as one-to-one support from the volunteer, ACE Neighbours provided group support. Many lasting friendships were formed in the group get-togethers!

Where can I go for befriending services now?

Independent Age:

Helpline number to make referrals for telephone befriending: 0800 319 6789 or contact Dominic Mellor, Wellbeing Project Officer, for face-to-face visits on 07595 201431 or


Age UK National:

Call in Time is a free telephone friendship service for people 60 and over.


Age UK B&NES:  01225 466135


Age UK South Glos: 01454 411707



You can refer online  or via our local contact Helen Ker-Bridges: 01225 873812


The Alzheimer’s Society:

Side by Side service:

BANES, Swindon, Wiltshire 01249 443 469 or 01225 296741

Bristol, Gloucester and South Gloucestershire 01179 610693


What did people say about ACE?

  • “I am so grateful that I joined ACE…it is an entry to a world that so easily gets lost as one ages. I never stop being grateful to you for starting the ACE group.”
  • “It’s been like a door opening.”
  • “This has been marvellous for me. I was out of the swim before but with help, I feel in the swim again.”
  • “It changed me. It makes me go out and see other people.”
  • Volunteer Jos and ACE participant Roger
    Case study

    ACE Neighbours: Roger and Jos

    Roger’s job for Imperial Tobacco took him all over the UK; when he was at home in Keynsham he was involved in family life and raising his children.  So despite living in Keynsham for over 50 years, Roger hadn’t had the opportunity to develop many social links. 

  • Anne (l) and Jeffrey (r)
    Case study

    ACE Neighbours: Jeffrey and Anne

    With no local family or friends and feeling detached from his neighbours and community, Jeffrey wanted some help to build his confidence to get out and about and enjoy life. Anne was keen to volunteer with older people after a lifetime of working with children, and so became an ACE Neighbours volunteer.

  • St Monica Trust logo
    Case study

    ACE Neighbours: Ellen and Babs

    “I wasn’t coping with life and didn’t want to be here.”  Ellen, a much loved mother and grandmother, was going through a difficult time and had become withdrawn.  “I was in a bad place.  I didn’t want to go out.  I felt isolated and afraid to leave the house.”

LinkAge Network News