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Gareth @Saltbox

Nell Gwynn Charity Evening

By | Blog

On 13 June 2018, we will be joining forces with the Stoke-on-Trent Repertory Theatre to raise money for CareLink. There will be a production of ‘Nell Gwynn’ from which the theatre will kindly donate £5 from every ticket sold to our service. We’ll also be running a prize raffle and have collection buckets available on the night. In our latest blog interview, we speak to Charlotte Murfin, CareLink Admin Support Officer, who has a background at the Stoke Rep Theatre and has been instrumental in setting up the event

Tell us a bit about the upcoming Nell Gwynn production at the Stoke-on-Trent Rep Theatre.

Nell Gwynn, who will be played by Shelly Rivers, is a modern comedy set in Restoration Britain. It is running from Tuesday 12th – Saturday 16th June, with a charity night for CareLink on Wednesday 13th June. Tickets for the play are £11, and performances start at 7:30pm – 10.00pm (approx).

How will the production be supporting Carelink?

CareLink is a project that is part of Saltbox – a local charity, established and running within Stoke-on-Trent. CareLink uses telephone befriending to support people over 50 who are struggling with the effects of loneliness and isolation. It helps to keep them healthy and independent in their own homes for as long as possible.

On Wednesday 13th June, The Rep Theatre will be supporting CareLink in hosting a charity evening. This means that £5 of your ticket money, if you book through ourselves at CareLink, will be kindly donated back to our cause.

We will be holding a raffle on the night, and we will also have collection buckets for any further donations. Any donations made will continue to support Carelink and the valued service we provide throughout the local community.

How did your background with the Rep Theatre come about?

I graduated with 1st Class BA (Hons) in Music Theatre. During this time I explored adventurous and innovative practices in devising music theatre works. I was a two-year member of the university’s chamber choir, singing at prestigious events/ceremonies and touring parts of southern France. After my studies, I became a Professional Actor for T.I.E. companies (Theatre in Education). Here, through drama, dance and song, we’d tour schools, raising awareness on key issues that young people face.

I’m originally from Leek and joined The Stoke-on-Trent Rep Players in 2013. I’ve performed in varies plays with The Rep, from classic period dramas such as Shakespeare & Dickens, to more contemporary pieces such as the works of Alan Ayckbourn. I also perform with other visiting companies that will use The Rep as their chosen venue. I developed my career working as an Arts Development practitioner/co-ordinator for community-focused groups. In the past, I was the vocalist within a Latin/jazz quintet, and I continue to work with ‘Drumshack’, exploring Afro-Cuban vocal and percussion.

Alongside this, I continue to support Saltbox, recently singing at the Civic Prayer Breakfast, held in April 2018, as well as their OPEN forums in the past.

The Rep Player’s themselves produce five productions throughout each season. You can find further information on their website about how to get involved and future productions.

What do you enjoy most about working for CareLink?

CareLink is a lifeline to our clients and I feel proud to be part of a team who enable and encourage people to live their life to the full, against all odds – Our clients are quite inspirational.

How can people get tickets?

Further information on how to book tickets for the Charity Evening (Wed 13th June), can be obtained via at CareLink on, 01782 810320, extension 2.

Help W.A.V.E Goodbye to Loneliness

By | Blog, News

Just before Easter our CareLink team leader Linda Stone spoke to BBC Radio Stoke’s Perry Spiller about Saltbox’s CareLink service and also the ‘Help W.A.V.E goodbye to loneliness’ campaign.

The W.A.V.E campaign is one of the actions by the Loneliness Strategy Group aimed at reducing loneliness and isolation across the city of Stoke-on-Trent. The goal of the campaign is to promote the involvement of whole communities in reducing risk factors and raising awareness by delivering the clear message that loneliness can be preventable. W.A.V.E breaks down as follows:

  • W – Who around you could be lonely? Keep an eye out for neighbours, friends and family who may be feeling lonely or isolated
  • A – Ask “Are you all right?” Take five minutes to chat and listen to them
  • V – Visit your local library to find out about activities and services that can help.
  • E – Everyone can play a part. Loneliness can significantly harm health, but little things like a friendly smile can make a BIG difference.

Regular updates about the campaign can be found by visiting the Healthy Stoke-on-Trent Facebook page.

BBC Radio Stoke have also been kind enough to provide audio from our interview, now available below via our YouTube channel.


BBC Radio Stoke ‘Make a Difference’ campaign

By | Blog

As part of BBC Radio Stoke’s ‘Make a Difference’ campaign, CareLink team leader Linda Stone featured on the ‘Liz Ellis and John Acres at Breakfast’ earlier this week.

It was an opportunity to talk about CareLink and how our telephone befriending service is helping to tackle loneliness in Stoke-on-Trent.

“There can be a stigma attached to loneliness” explained Linda. “We don’t always like to admit we’re lonely but it can impact people across all walks of life. What we’re saying is, it’s okay to admit you’re lonely. It’s okay to reach out and ask for care and support”

Steve – originally a client and now also a CareLink volunteer – also took part in the interview. It was an opportunity for him to tell his story.

“I’m visually impaired. I’ve been living with sight loss for 15 years and became very reclusive, finding myself in a little world of my own. The Job Centre guided me in the direction of my doctors who recommended CareLink. It’s now getting me out of the house and I’m enjoying it. My advice to anybody in a similar situation would be to reach out to a charity like CareLink”

BBC Radio Stoke have been kind enough to provide us with the audio from the interview, now available on our YouTube channel, below.



Welcome to our new site!

By | Blog, News

Welcome to the new Saltbox website and our dedicated section focusing on our CareLink service! 

Our upgraded site covers everything you need to know about how we provide befriending and welfare checks for vulnerable and isolated older people within our local communities.

First up, you can read all about the History of CareLink, detailing its early beginnings in 2007 on the back of a grant to successfully trial a telephone monitoring and befriending service in Stoke-on-Trent.

CareLink wouldn’t be what it is today without our amazing staff and volunteers. To celebrate this we’ve added a Team section where you can put names to faces of those who work so tirelessly behind the scenes, making everything possible.

For those of a statistical persuasion, you can also read about CareLink In Numbers. Here we give a high-level overview on the volume of clients and referrals we deal with, the number of calls we make (a massive 16,088 between during 2016/17) and also an indication of the money CareLink saves the NHS per year (£395,690 for 2016/17)

Our clients are always at the heart of everything we do at CareLink. In the new Our Friends section, you’ll be able to meet several of them, read their stories and see how our service has helped to change their lives for the better. We’ve also added a Media section where you can enjoy several videos and slideshows, revisiting 2017 day trips to places like Emma Bridgewater, Gladstone Pottery Museum and Westport Lake.

Finally, we’re always on the lookout for new volunteers, donations and fundraising to help keep CareLink moving forward. If you’d like to help make a difference by supporting local elderly, isolated and vulnerable people then we now have a Join The Team page complete with FAQs. There are also plenty of fundraising ideas in our Be a Fundraiser or Organiser section.

This is just a small sample of the new features available on our CareLink website. Feel free to have a look around and discover more. If you did have any further questions then please get in touch on our Contacts page, or visit Referrals if you know anybody who would benefit from the service.

CareLink Emma Bridgewater visit

By | Blog, News

Throughout 2017 we’ve been taking our CareLink clients out on a series of heritage day trips. This week we made the short trek to the Emma Bridgewater factory in Stoke-on-Trent. Our clients enjoyed some lunch and also spent time learning how to paint their own plates in the decorating studio.

“The purpose of these trips is to give our clients the chance to get out and about” explained CareLink team leader Linda Stone. “A lot of them don’t always get the chance to meet with other people anymore. With us they have the opportunity to come out, socialise and enjoy a good day out”

CareLink client, Joyce, has been with the service for two or three years now. “I enjoy being a part of CareLink” she tells us. “We always have a good chat. I look forward to it. Otherwise, I might not see a soul all day.”

To hear more from our clients, staff and volunteers, we’ve put together a short video of the day, available below