Signing up to South London Cares: a younger neighbour perspective

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We understand it can be daunting signing up to meet new people and try new things. So, we wanted to introduce you to Hannah, a younger neighbour we met last year, and share her experience of how she got on in her first few months!

So how did you get involved in South London Cares?

South London Cares had been on my radar for a little while before I actually got involved – I heard about it through a friend, and it stuck in my head as an amazing sounding organisation. I moved to south London during the pandemic and once I was settled in, I decided to get in touch – I went along to an induction at the end of last year and was told about the various options and decided that the Social Clubs and Love Your Neighbour programmes sounded up my street!

Why did you join South London Cares?

I've always loved living in London – but I also do feel aware of the paradox of being surrounded by people but sometimes a little bit isolated. Of course the solution is simple: connect people so they can feel companionship and friendship and ease that feeling of loneliness or isolation That's why South London Cares is so great, because it does just that – it connects people.

What have been your highlights so far?

So far I've been lucky enough to attend a few social clubs – including the Walking Boxing, which I loved! The instructor is great and sequences together different punches for us to do – it turns out I'm terrible at it but find it so funny. To be clear, we don't punch each other – just the air! Another highlight has been getting to know Val, who I was partnered with through the Love Your Neighbour programme. Val has lived in West Dulwich nearly her whole life but finds it challenging to get out into the community. She has had a really full and exciting life, and I think suddenly having fewer people to talk to and feeling like her world is a bit smaller has been difficult for her, and so we always have a good chat. She has so many stories and always wants to hear what I've been up to – we actually have a lot in common – namely spending too much money on perfumes, loving coffee and generally gossiping. I go round to Val's house once a week and always look forward to it.

How did you find the sign up process and getting started?

The whole process was really smooth and clear. I found Emily to be really helpful with any questions I had and also the induction for Love Your Neighbour was great- really thorough and made me feel confident. The main thing for me was knowing I had someone to check in with if I was unsure about anything and I do! Thank you Emily!

What would you say to people who are thinking about signing up?

I would say definitely sign up, come along to an induction and find out about the programmes and then maybe pop along to some social clubs! There's a big variety and they're on different days of the week, so it's easy to find something that works. I would also encourage people to sign up to Love Your Neighbour. South London Cares take time to match you with someone who lives close by and who you hopefully have a good chance of getting on with, so it's like a facilitated way of making a new (local) friend! I think Val looks forward to my visits, but I also really value them too. You also get a little budget to spend on something to do together, and I can't wait to see what Val suggests – maybe we will blow it on the shopping channel, which is a whole new world Val has introduced me to!

Earlier this week, we released our All Together Week programme for Loneliness Week! This June, we are celebrating our younger neighbour community, commending them for the time and effort that they have put into the friendships they have made, and giving them the opportunity to get to know others with similar interests.

We're also welcoming new younger neighbours, who can find out more about the types of programmes we offer and chat with existing people in the community to hear first-hand what it's like.

If you're interested in getting involved with South London Cares, you can sign up here, or if you want to find out more from our younger neighbours about their experiences, sign up to our All Together Week events.

Elle Dodds

Posted by Elle Dodds on Thursday 26th May 2022

Elle is our Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator, supporting our growing network of younger and older neighbours in south London.