I started volunteering with South London Cares just over two years ago. I'd been wanting to volunteer for a long time but could never find something that fits in with my work schedule. So when a colleague mentioned South London Cares, I was really excited. Since then, I've attended a variety of social clubs and made lots of new friends.
I've always loved meeting new people. I enjoy a good chat, finding out what people's interests are and hearing where life has taken them. So I'm filled with excitement every time I walk into a club thinking 'Who will I meet today?'. Everyone seems to have an amazing story to tell.
What strikes me on a regular basis is that however different I might be to the person sitting next to me, we always have something in common. At my first ever social club, I sat next to Malcolm, who it turns out is originally from the same area of Birmingham as me. I also met a fellow Greek at a Technology Club, which was lovely as I don't have many Greek friends in London. Another neighbour used to work at Vogue, and we bonded over our experience of working in the Fashion industry.
I always leave a social club having learnt something new from my neighbours and their life experiences. I enjoy hearing about London and how it's changed over the years (for better or worse). I love hearing about the different jobs they've had and the countries they've lived in or visited. I've been given a long list of places to travel to and suggestions for some great days out around London from the people who know it best.
The clubs often put me out of my comfort zone and encourage me to try new things - such as dancing to show tunes, watching films I wouldn't usually pick, and making a cup of tea!
As someone who knows only too well how lonely London can be, I really look forward to attending the clubs and feeling part of a community. When I tell people where I'm off to, I'm always keen to emphasise that I get just as much from the clubs as my older neighbours do. I feel so happy and proud when I look around and see everyone getting on and having a great time regardless of age.
My generation is often criticised as being unsociable and glued to their screens, so I'm pleased to see there are plenty of other volunteers just like me who want to get involved and be an active part of their community.
Posted by Anastasia Georgousis on Sunday 2nd June 2019
Anastasia has been volunteering at social clubs with South London Cares since 2017.