As we get older, our social circles diminish, and we find ourselves with fewer and fewer people to turn to. Imagine realising one day that all your friends and family have gone from your life. Loneliness can be cruel, and it affects millions of people over 75 who live in social isolation.
Re-engage is making life less lonely for thousands of older people every year. Older people tell us that our volunteer-led activities make them happier and more able to trust others.
Our tea parties are monthly social groups open to people aged 75 and over, and give older people regular afternoons of conversation and laughter with friends of all ages.
"Something to look forward to each month"
Call companions is our telephone befriending service ensuring older people stay connected to the outside world. Call companions is available to anyone aged 75 and over who’s socially isolated and would like a regular chat over the phone with a friendly volunteer.
”Before this, I used to feel so lonely”
Our activity groups give people 75 and over the chance to do gentle exercise as they make connections with other people. Our activity groups in Wales, West Yorkshire, Birmingham, and Bristol and the South West take place both face to face and online.
"Friendly, kind, helpful, happy people to mix with"
All our services are free to older people.
The period around Christmas can be difficult for anyone who’s on their own. Throughout December, community Christmas offers older people a weekly call and a link to the outside world with a friendly volunteer.
To encourage older people who are lonely, isolated or in need of companionship to develop social interests by bringing companionship into their lives.
To help older people to establish contact with their peers.
To encourage younger people to devote some of their time to helping older people find companionship and new friendship groups.
- Goal one: grow and support more older people who are experiencing loneliness and play the leading role in our sector and beyond in tackling loneliness in people over 75.
- Goal two: know what matters. Continually listen to older voices, learning, and ensuring that those voices are heard by commercial, public, and charity sector decision-makers.
- Goal three: drive our growth using technology to deliver excellent engagement with volunteers and referrers. Invest in imaginative digital solutions to the challenges facing older people.
- Goal four: collaborate with partners from across the commercial, public and charity sectors in order to both grow our impact and to support an increasingly diverse older population.
- Goal five: build innovative sustainable and scalable models which can ensure that our work can grow in a way that maximises and demonstrates social value.
1. Reduce loneliness and improve the social wellbeing of people over 75.
- Use our experience and learning to develop new and existing loneliness interventions that maximise social value.
- Build a greater understanding of social wellness and social wellbeing as the opposite of loneliness and a positive goal.
- Work with partners and collaborators in government, commercial and the voluntary sector, and use monitoring, evaluation and learning to deliver and develop loneliness interventions that maximise social value and have the greatest positive impact.
2. Support the collective voice of the oldest of the old in accordance with their guidance and recommendations.
- Work with older people to understand their priorities and needs.
- Become a channel through which older people can influence the perception of older people and ageing and the policies, services, and facilities that affect them.
3. Focus on sustainability.
- Build sustainable systems and processes that will help volunteers to lead services in their communities with minimum intervention.
- Continue to build funding packages that pay for core costs wherever possible and aim for full cost recovery on restricted income.
4. Unleash the power of volunteers.
- Put in place marketing and engagement that empower volunteers to grow and develop Re-engage services in response to the needs and wants of older people.
- Create person-centred, bespoke volunteer experiences through the use of technology.
- Sustain high quality training materials for Re-engage volunteers to empower them to take control of their volunteering.
- Stay connected with our volunteers and deliver strong stewardship using automated marketing and segmented and tailored messaging.
5. Diversify our work, working with more diverse older people and volunteers.
- Focus on our targets to diversify Re-engage stakeholders: volunteers, referrers, board, staff.
- Expand our understanding of the lived experience of marginalised people and groups and develop services that meet their needs.
6. Grow our income to support our ambition to grow our beneficiary numbers.
- Be a £5m turnover charity by 2028 with a structured robust approach to spending the additional funds raised / earned.
- Grow individual giving and legacy income into major income streams.
- Develop fundraising packages which enable funders to support loneliness in the broadest way, for example, supporting loneliness plus diversity or loneliness plus digital exclusion, helping to attract multi-year funders and sustainable services.
- Build partnership opportunities to sell our current services.
7. Grow our brand.
- Increase awareness of our brand to targeted audiences, with evidence based, authoritative, and sympathetic language to grow the numbers of older people and volunteers across our services.
- Use our unrivalled impact data coupled with our credible voice of the lived experience of the over 75s to influence on the big issues facing older people.
- Continue to grow awareness of our diverse services, the quality of our offering, and our dedicated focus to those over 75 as our USP and core business model.
- Introduce a commercial level of sophistication into our marketing and communications, allowing for a level of targeting and personalisation considered innovative in the charity sector.
- Use our communications to tackle ageism by working with older people to influence the perception of older people and ageing.
8. Create digital and technological innovations to both improve our efficiency as a charity and to help older people navigate the digital world.
- Use technology to make our processes more efficient.
- Use technology to improve the effectiveness of our monitoring and reporting on service performance to aid rapid decision making.
- Use varied governance structures to support our work.
- Seek opportunities to work with other organisations on areas outside our immediate remit but linked to older people’s loneliness, such as the environment, housing, or financial hardship.
- Understand that not everyone needs the same prescription.
Re-engage is committed to reducing loneliness and social isolation for the UK’s ‘oldest old’.
We do this through a range of services and activities. Our theory of change explains how we believe these services and activities lead to short, medium, and long term outcomes that mean we achieve the impact we intend and the older people deserve.
Our theory of change shows the work we do now and work we are planning for the future. We use this theory to:
- help guide and build a robust monitoring and evaluation framework.
- summarise complex interventions in a clear and simple way and create a shared understanding about our purpose.
- communicate with stakeholders about what we do, particularly with funders.
- guide existing activities and decision-making.
- support our planning of new work.
Please click on the diagram below to see a larger version.
Staff & Trustees
Find out more about our team, our trustees and their involvement in Re-engage.
You'll find our latest publications and reports here.
Policies and guidelines
In 2022-2023 almost 6,500 older people took part in our services, supported by over 9,200 volunteers.
In 1965, a young man called Trevor Lyttleton encountered an older woman living near him in London. She was alone and had no electricity in her house. Saddened by the realisation that she was just one of many people living like this in the borough, Trevor decided to do something to help older people in his area.
Trevor contacted the Marylebone Welfare Department and, with friends, visited a total of 12 older people and invited them on a visit to Hampton Court. After a successful first meet up, Trevor decided to set up further groups.
Trevor Lyttleton, MBE
I received a Christmas card from one of the older ladies, simply saying: ‘At last I have something to live for!’, and I think this more than anything else made me realise how much more we could do.
In September 1965, the organisation which was then called Contact, was granted charitable status. Several years later, the name changed to Contact the Elderly. Then, in 2019 under the leadership of Meryl Davies, we launched our new name and brand – Re-engage.
One small act of kindness has grown into a national charity - in the last year alone, we've helped 8,500 lonely and isolated older people.
Find out more about the people behind our organisation
Our values are
Join us on our campaign to bring dignity and respect to people as they age.