It was a meeting of firsts as we reflected and celebrated with our volunteers, service users & donors.

For the first time ever, our Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held virtually, via an online webinar. This meant staff, trustees, volunteers and guest speakers alike were still able to get together and reflect on the past year – even if it meant no cake!

We had some very special guests in attendance, with service user Lynford and his daughter and full-time carer, Sharon, joining us to share their experience of our services. We heard first-hand how our Befriending match couldn’t have been more of a success with Lynford and volunteer, James. Their shared love of reggae music and keen interest in current affairs sees them in contact on a weekly basis, with phone calls replacing face-to-face catch ups for now. Lynford said, “We talk politics and put the world to rights!” while Sharon explained it has been a relief to have access to our exercise groups online for her dad.

Something we really wanted to highlight this year was the incredible work of our volunteers. After all, if it wasn’t for people like James we wouldn’t be able to do the work we do. So, we enlisted the help of our service users who nominated volunteers for their outstanding dedication and kindness. During the AGM, we held our first Volunteer Awards - it was truly wonderful to recognise our Star and Super Star volunteers for their amazing efforts!

Our Director, Sophie Wellings, gave an insightful overview of our 2020 Impact Report and well-deserved praise was in order for the Link Age Southwark staff, with Sophie commending the team’s efforts over the past year.

We also heard from guest speaker Helen Hayes, MP for Dulwich and West Norwood. Helen took time to look back on the past few months and the effect they have had on the community, remarking that Link Age Southwark’s work had often been a “lifeline” to those in need.

Recently appointed Southwark Cabinet Members, Alice Macdonald and Helen Dennis joined us to discuss their commitment to supporting residents and being “an age friendly borough”. Alice and Helen are overseeing the new service, Ageing Well Southwark, which we are proud to be delivering, along with Southwark Council and our partners at COPSINS (Consortium of Older People’s Services in Southwark).

Our friends at NHS South East London CCG also popped by to remind everyone to get their winter flu jab this year! Julian Walker and Bola Olatunde shared their priority to improve the health and wellbeing of our population, as well as urging those who are eligible to visit their local pharmacy, or contact their GP and book in for the flu vaccine.

All in all, we took pride in celebrating the work that has been and the work to come, in supporting older people to stay connected within our community. It just shows you don’t need cake to have a great AGM, but it’s certainly on the agenda for next year!

If you missed joining the AGM live via webinar, you can watch the video here: