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CareLink works with a variety of partners in both formal and informal relationships. The following is a list of organisations we are currently working with and an outline of those relationships.


Stoke-on-Trent City Council

We work closely with the council in a number of areas both formally and informally.

Winter Warmth projects: we have been involved in partnerships of voluntary sector organisations several years in a row delivering extra support for older vulnerable people during the winter

Adult Social Care: we both make and receive referrals to and from Adult Social Care teams. We work in partnership with staff where we are both working with the same service users to ensure better support for them.

Strategy groups: our staff represent CareLink and Saltbox on various strategy groups including Age Friendly Cities, Dementia Friendly Communities and Loneliness strategy groups.

Keele University

We have worked with Keele University in a number of ways over the last few years

    • 1st-year medical student placements practising their interviewing skills with an elderly person
    • 2nd-year medical student community placements with CareLink over a six-month period
    • 5th-year medical students carry out group projects based within community organisations. CareLink has worked with a couple of groups in recent years
    • We have worked with a postgraduate student research project exploring the impact of poetry on older people offering some of our CareLink customers the opportunity to take part in the project
    • We are currently exploring setting up a satellite base on the university campus so that students can make evening befriending calls to CareLink customers from there

You can see a letter of appreciation from Keele University for the relationship with Saltbox here.

Staffordshire University

We are currently working with CHAD (Centre for Health & Development), a department within Staffordshire University, to run a research project with the aim of working with specific GP practices to measure in a robust way the outcomes for people receiving the CareLink service. This research should provide strong validated evidence of the difference the CareLink service makes, to support future funding opportunities.

We also take students from the university as volunteers and on placements.


Over the last year we have begun to work more closely with local Job Centres to offer placements and volunteering opportunities to their customers who are looking to build confidence and gain experience. We now attend two of the local Job Centres on a regular basis which has proved highly beneficial to both organisations. For CareLink it has provided us with some experienced and skilled volunteers, and through these placements several volunteers have been able to carry on and gain paid employment.

Trading Standards

CareLink has recently been signed up as a Friends Against Scams Organisation, an initiative by Trading Standards to inform and educate about scams and how to help people vulnerable to them. In order to receive this status our staff received face-to-face training from Trading Standards, and one of our staff is in the process of doing training to become a SCAMChampion, which will mean she can run scam awareness sessions to staff and volunteers within our organisation.

Blue Iris

This is a local Lottery funded initiative, the aim of which is to get people chatting to one another as a way of combatting loneliness. Individuals are invited to sign a pledge and wear their Blue Iris badge out in public as a sign that you will be willing to chat. Organisations including CareLink are also encouraged to be ambassadors for the project. As a result of the training session delivered by Blue Iris, 13 volunteers and 6 staff from CareLink signed the pledge.


Stoke-on-Trent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)

Stoke CCG has been our main source of funding for the core CareLink service since the start of 2015.

One Stop Shops

Carriers for Causes is the charitable arm of One Stop shops who donate each 5p from the sale of carrier bags to local causes. Grants of up to £1,000 are available for local groups within two miles of a One Stop shop in support of projects that ‘benefit local communities – helping to improve lives and local places’. We received a grant from the Carriers for Causes charity which enabled us to take CareLink clients out on regular social trips to local heritage venues.

We are currently also building a relationship with our local One Stop Shop and plan to have ongoing collections and occasional information days at the store.


Bags of Help is an initiative from Tesco store in which they donate the 5p from the sale of carrier bags to projects that benefit local communities across the UK. We have also fundraised in several of their local stores.

Big Lottery Fund

Big Lottery Fund’s Celebrate scheme provided grants to help communities celebrate their local history. Their funding has contributed to our heritage day trips out to local potbanks, football clubs and cultural venues across Stoke.

To see photographs taken at the heritage days out funded by One Stop Shops and Big Lottery Fund, head over to our Gallery page.


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.