Nikki: CareLink Administration Officer

Role: I am responsible for all of our office administration, and helping the officers where needed

Experience I have had many differing  jobs over the years, but my favourite by far was when I worked in a care home just after leaving school. I was very close to my nana growing up, and spent a lot of time with her. This led me to have a real affinity with older people. Many years later, I became a foster parent, which I love, but when the children are at school I had lots of time on my hands. My sister started to work for Carelink and told me about the volunteer role. So, I joined as a volunteer and did this for about 18 months. When a role became available they asked me to join the team full time.

On Carelink I can honestly say that  I think this service is amazing. The clients are so happy and grateful for the calls and interaction that they receive from our volunteers, and the volunteers love making the calls, but also spending time together in the office and meeting new people. It’s a win win!

ZI: Volunteer Coordinator

Role: My role is to recruit, train and support volunteers to fulfil their role as CareLink befrienders.

Experience: CareLink is such a departure from what I always wanted to be growing up. I studied Law and never saw myself doing anything else until I went through a life-changing event. I have worked as a meat packer, cashier, stock controller, in a call centre and at a building society, but suddenly felt that something was missing. Coming to CareLink was meant to be a temporary measure until I ‘found myself’, but little did I know I would find a home. Working with Saltbox staff, clients and volunteers has changed my outlook on life and makes me realise that I enjoy working with people and making a difference.

On CareLink: I know it’s a job but very often it feels like a life style or life choice; it is very fulfilling 

TIM: CareLink Officer

Role: To support elderly people into becoming less isolated and lonely, to put a plan in place that will help improve their health by connecting them with people and other support.

Experience:  I  have worked in the voluntary sector most my working life; I have been a youth worker, worked for the Careers Service and a community worker. I have spent a lot of my time building relationships within the community of Stoke-on-Trent.

On CareLink: Carelink has a great team of staff and volunteers who care very much about their service users. Those receiving the service look forward to their befriending calls like many people would look forward to a holiday

CHRISTINE: CareLink Officer

Role: To support the over 50’s age range who have become isolated and lonely through age and/or disability. I carry out an initial assessment to help them identify and address their current concerns.  What we at Carelink can’t do ourselves we then signpost and refer on for specialist support. Afterwards, we monitor and review our clients progress to help them lead a more independent and fulfilling lifestyle and to avert a potential crisis.

Experience:  I have had a varied work experience, using the various facets of my Psychology Degree. From being an Inclusion Officer in a high school helping vulnerable teenagers cope in a mainstream setting to a Mediator supporting families and communities in conflict. Then I managed an Engagement Service giving children and families a voice on strategic matters. When my own family flew the nest, I turned my attention to the more mature residents of the city, working with adults suffering from severe mental health problems before finding my ideal job here at Saltbox supporting the isolated and lonely to have a more fulfilling and meaningful lifestyle.

On CareLink: Our team of valued volunteers transform our client’s lives with the quality of their befriending calls.  Through the friendship they develop, they are able to spot subtle signs when things are not quite right so that staff can respond quickly to avert simple issues from turning into a major crisis. Equality and teamwork at its best!


If you know someone over 65 who struggles with social exclusion, search our community directory map for events, groups and services that can help nearby.


There are many ways you can make a difference to older people who live near you, from volunteering to make phone calls to organising activities.


Help us help older people struggling with life’s challenges alone by donating to CareLink. Click to visit our donations page.