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January 15, 2019

Volunteer Listeners needed

As you may know, Time to Shine is part of a larger research programme, the National Lottery funded Ageing Better programme. Together we are trying to find out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to improving the lot of lonely and socially isolated older people. The work is evaluated with formal questionnaires, but that does not always enable us to capture all the lessons we need to learn.

To help us find some of the more human elements of the story we need to recruit peer researchers, known as ‘Volunteer Listeners’. They will collect participants’ stories and share them with Care Connect, our local evaluators from the University of Sheffield.

We are looking for people who think they would like to help with this.

Volunteers will receive training to do the role and will then go out, in pairs, to meet older people in different settings across Leeds. They will have a conversation with someone who wants to give their views, ‘guided’ by some ‘prompt’ questions. This will help us get answers to some of our questions, but it is not a formal process. As a pair the Volunteer Listeners will make notes during the conversation then write them up Care Connect to add to the larger evaluation. There is scope for some people, as Volunteer Storywriters, to do the writing up if they can’t get out to take part in the conversations.

Volunteers must be able to attend one of the training sessions in March, and be able to get to locations across Leeds. We will pay mileage or bus/taxi fares to help with getting to projects.

We hope pairs will be able to hold an average of two ‘conversations’ a month over the next year (we know it will not work out quite that evenly in real life, but hope that will give you an idea of the commitment needed). It will give you an insight into the many wonderful projects being run with older people across Leeds as part of the Time to Shine National Lottery Funded research project.

The courses are on either 12 or the 21 of March, with ‘Listening’ planned to start in May.

To express an interest or find out more please get in touch with Jessica on 0113 244 1697 (Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday) or email

Jessica Duffy
Time to Shine Learning Facilitator