KeyRing North East

We're always looking to work in new areas. Take a look through our existing services or contact our National Office on 020 3119 0960 or at

Read about our North East projects below:

Chain Reaction

Darlington Networks

Gateshead Networks

Newcastle Networks

Chain Reaction

Chain Reaction is a service that supports older people (55+) to live independently in the community. KeyRing was instrumental in designing it and is one of three partners delivering it across Newcastle.

KeyRing believes that everyone has the right to be respected as full members of their community and to contribute to that community. That right does not diminish as people get older, but people may start to need some support in order to maintain it. We believe that a shrinking social circle is not an inevitable part of ageing and that low level support to maintain connections to friends and to the local community helps prevents loneliness and poor health.

Whilst traditional approaches to supporting older people have focused on specialised day services that group all ‘older people’ together and provide them with ‘older people’s activities’, KeyRing’s approach promotes the use of community-based resources and facilities, helping people get involved with what is already available. In doing so it supports and sustains natural friendships and develops new ones, warding off loneliness and social isolation and creating happier communities.

Whilst traditional approaches might keep people safe, they fail to address people’s individual needs and wishes and ignore the skills and talents they have that could be of great benefit to others. Like all our services, Chain Reaction’s support is flexible and personalised and looks at what each person can contribute as well as what they need support with.

As well as improving emotional wellbeing this type of support helps people to maintain their physical health. On a practical Chain Reaction can provide support with things like healthy eating or staying safe in the home.

As well as positive personal outcomes, strong social networks and support to stay healthy at home have a preventative effect – people are less likely to become ill, have an accident, or fall into a crisis. By providing this support to people who are not otherwise eligible for social care we prevent avoidable suffering on their part and reduce costs to the public purse.

What does the support include?

1. One-to-one personalised support with things like health, budgeting, dealing with correspondence, domestic skills, just getting to know someone.

2. Connecting people to their community, including help to get out and do the shopping, finding out what’s going on in the community and local area and help to reconnect or get involved with local groups and activities.

3. Connecting people to others and creating a network of natural support

We want to help to prevent people feeling lonely by:

• having some support to come to groups and meeting new people
• making new friends, or reconnecting with family or old friends connecting with people who have shared interests

There are 2 levels of support:

1. Preventative level; this is free, low level support provided by our Community Pioneers.

2. We also support people on a one to one basis to access the community and get involved in groups outside the home. We can help with things like dealing with post and making phone calls. There is a cost to this service. 

Chain Reaction now delivers the Lunch Links service in the East of Newcastle. This provides a wide range of opportunities for fun, friendship, food, shopping trips, and excursions close to where people live, giving them the chance to meet up with friends and make new ones.

For more information about the project have a look at the Chain Reaction website

For more information please contact Catriona Huck on 07917 686658 or email


Darlington Networks

KeyRing in Darlington started supporting people in 2001.

Often named by locals as ‘Darlo’, it is home to a not particularly successful football club, but perhaps more famously as home to the first steam locomotion train to transport passengers and coal. ‘Stephenson’s locomotion’ is displayed at the head of the steam museum, in Darlington. We also have the oldest railway bridge which is in continuous use.

KeyRing in Darlington has evolved into a multi layered support service over recent years, and has the addition of a community hub which is held every week at St Columbas Church, Clifton Road, 11-2pm. We work in partnership with JJ’s, a local voluntary organisation to provide somewhere people can go and have something to eat. One of our members is a trained chef and cooks a 2 course meal each week, on a budget! We have a resident artist who has supported Members to find their inner van Gogh and produce some fantastic pieces of artwork. We also do lots of other activities at the hub as agreed by the Members and to meet the needs of the group.

The hub is currently meeting in a socially distanced way.

In Darlington, we offer a 3 tier model which allows for flexibility in the amount of support you may require to meet your needs. This has the option for people to have Full, Associate and Linked In memberships. We are flexible and will work with you to achieve your goals. Whether that be to sort your finances out or to get out and about and connected in your local community, we can help!

We have limited spaces within the funded membership places but also welcome new Members whose funding may come through direct payments, ISFs or self-funding.

Kenneth Longstaff is part of the KeyRing Darlington group. He was recently interviewed on BBC Radio Tees about his artwork which is currently being shown in an exhibition in Darlington Market. You can listen to the interview and see some of his work opposite.

If you would like to find out more about us in Darlington then please contact Tracy Hall: - 07977 412 991

Gateshead Networks

Our network in Gateshead began way back in 2005 and has been going strong ever since!

It is based in the Leam Lane area and is a traditional network offering support to vulnerable people to be part of their community and make connections with other KeyRing Members. We support people to manage their tenancy and maintain their independence. Support is delivered via a community enabler who lives locally and knows the area.           

The network is funded by the local authority of Gateshead. There is no cost to the people who are eligible for the service.

We can also support people via their personal budget. This is a personalised service tailored to people's needs and wishes. We always maintain a focus on encouraging people to be independent and develop their skills. Support is structured around the person and we aim to help people unlock their potential. With everyone we support we focus on 3 areas:

  • What support does the person need to live well independently
  • How can we connect the person to their community
  • How we can connect the person with other members of KeyRing to widen their social connections and develop relationships.

We regularly hold drop in hubs at a central venue which everyone we support can attend. We focus on things that matter to the people we work with and we invite specialists to come and meet us where necessary. We look at things like digital inclusion, sexual health and planning social events. We have a focus on the 5 ways to wellbeing and we try to link the things we do to this structure. The hub is a really positive way of bringing people together and offers people the opportunity to share ideas, learn new things and build friendships.

For more information or to refer to us, please contact Catriona Huck on 07917 686658 or email

Group of people in countryside

Newcastle Networks

Our networks in Newcastle started long ago in 2001 so we've been around for a long time in the North East!

We have 2 Newcastle networks, situated in East and West of the city; these are traditional networks offering support to vulnerable people to be part of their community and make connections with other KeyRing Members. One of our Community Living Volunteers in Newcastle has been supporting her network since 2006 - a fantastic commitment!

We have a room in a community building in the middle of Newcastle and each week we hold two drop-in sessions for everyone across all of our networks to access. This has been a really positive way of bringing people together and has given people the opportunity to share ideas, learn new things and build friendships. Members do lots of social things together and have stronger relationships since we started the drop-in sessions.

Some of our Members set up a group called Tyneside Active Members Organisation a few years ago. This group is member-led and is about finding opportunities to learn new things and have new experiences. Since starting the group people have been on holiday together twice and work together to plan local trips to places of interest around the North East.

The networks are funded by the local authority of Newcastle.

We also support people via their personal budget. This is set at an hourly rate and is a personalised service tailored to people's needs and wishes. 

For more information or to refer to us, please contact Catriona Huck on 07917 686658 or email

Group outing on miniature railway

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