Lifelines, a flagship project from the national charity Volunteering Matters, will be expanding across the city thanks to a grant from the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities programme.

Already running in the east of Brighton for 8 years, LifeLines is a volunteer-led project for people aged 50 and over.  LifeLines runs activities and one-to-one support schemes to help older people stay more active and better engaged with their communities. They recruit, train and support volunteers to start up their own chosen activities at a suitable venue – and have supported activities from computer lessons and ballroom dancing through to bereavement counselling.

Thanks to a grant of just over £200,000, the project is now able to focus on three areas of work.

They are going to to expand their volunteer-led programme of activities to new areas of Brighton and Hove – in the first instance concentrating on Woodingdean, Ovingdean and Rottingdean. Older people in these areas are currently not as well served as other areas of the City, and LifeLines hope to create a vibrant mix of volunteering opportunities and activities for older people.

They will also be able to recruit more men as volunteers and participants to the Prime Time programme, which aims to recruit older men to set up activities that are of interest to them, and to then help find other older men to join in those activities. Currently significantly more women than men join in the volunteering and community activities available to them.

Finally, the new funding will allow LifeLines to revive its HealthLink scheme, which helps people with their health-related appointments by pairing them with a volunteer who can help them get to and make the most of their appointments.

Alan Marchbank, manager of the LifeLines project, said “We are delighted to have been successful in securing this funding, which will allow us to build on our success at reaching older people in the East of the City and provide them with opportunities to volunteer with us, or to join volunteer-led activities which benefit their physical and mental health and wellbeing. We would like to thank all our current volunteers for their hard work and dedication which were pivotal in our funding application being successful, and we look forward to working with them and our partner organisations across the City to reach ever more older people and give them the chance to lead or join in activities.”

For more information regarding Volunteering Matters’ LifeLines project please phone 01273 688117, email or visit