Goodbye to 2020

2020 wasn’t the year we or anyone expected to have.

Back in January and February, younger and older neighbours were attending Social Clubs to dance in West Norwood or sing in Peckham; new Love Your Neighbour matches were meeting up fo the first time; and we were door knocking across Lambeth and Southwark to support older neighbours through our Winter Wellbeing programme.

By April, everything had changed: younger and older neighbours were joining Virtual Social Clubs over Zoom; new friends were getting to know each other remotely on Phone a Friend; and we were working hard to connect older neighbours to emergency support.

It’s been a very difficult year for everyone in our network, and life hasn’t got any easier with the new restrictions brought in over the festive period. However, it has been amazing to see our network and wider community come together to support one another over the past nine months. Despite all the challenges, we wanted to celebrate what we have all achieved together.

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Since our first online club in March, we have hosted 166 Virtual Social Clubs with 1263 attendances. Younger and older neighbours like Nathan and Fadha have led clubs, while local partners, such as Brixton Life Drawing, helped bring new and exciting experiences to our online community. To help others join the fun, staff and volunteers have supported 54 older neighbours to download, install and understand Zoom, as well as run 10 technology workshops to improve people's computer skills.

“I really enjoy the clubs. It’s really nice to talk to youngsters. We can all learn from each other – that’s why I like South London Cares.” Penny

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After launching Phone a Friend in April to introduce younger and older neighbours we have introduced 30 matches – including Beatrice & Florence and Tony & Sophie – who have shared 529 calls. This is in addition to the 1217 hours of conversation Love Your Neighbour matches have continued to have over the phone or outside in the summer.

"All this talking to young people has taken years off me." Tony

Staff and younger neighbours have been busy checking in with older neighbours and connecting them to local support: in total, 1808 check in calls were made to 596 older neighbours. 67 community partners supported 111 older neighbours with 261 interventions, including food deliveries, mental health support and practical advice. Community partners also connected us to 76 new older neighbours, while 259 new younger neighbours signed up to join our community this year.

"These calls make my day!" Brian

None of this work would have been possible without all our fundraisers, who contributed to all sorts of innovative campaigns and events, such as our 2.6 Challenge and recent remote Santa Run. Like all our younger neighbours, older neighbours and community partners, you have been a huge source of support for us this year.

We’ll be sharing our top 10 moments from the year on our social media over the next week, so keep an eye out for some of the moments that kept us smiling during 2020.

Who knows what 2021 will bring...but we hope to see as many of you again – online or in person – soon!

Harry Jenkins

Posted by Harry Jenkins on Thursday 24th December 2020

Head of Programmes

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