Having recently moved to South London, I was looking for a way to feel more involved and connected in my new neighbourhood. I liked the idea of something inter-generational, and I needed something flexible as I’ve just made the transition to freelance work. When someone suggested South London Cares, I thought it ticked all my boxes.
Fast forward a couple of weeks, and I was down at my first South London Cares Social Club. If you’re not familiar, they’re basically a delightfully eclectic mix of activity based clubs that run for about 2hrs (read more here) and bring together people across the generations to have a good time! I use the term ‘volunteering’ somewhat reluctantly because for me, getting involved is as much for my benefit as it is for the older people attending.
South London Cares make it ridiculously easy for people looking to get started - there’s just one form to fill out and only one briefing to attend (with free pizza). Once you’ve done those two things your induction is complete, and you can start attending Social Clubs. Better yet, there’s no minimum time commitment.
Quickly I realised there really is a lot of choice, with Social Clubs running in the daytimes (handy to break up a day if you’re freelancing), evenings and weekends. Last month I made it down to three clubs. There was Latin and Ballroom Dancing, where we celebrated Blanche’s birthday, an afternoon of zen at Chair Yoga, and a lively debate with Diana about whether the latest Mary Poppins could ever be better than the original (never!) at Film Club. Next month I’m looking forward to drinking pints at a Pub Club and helping out at a Technology Club.
And what makes the South London Cares community work for me is that it's the antidote to a lonely London. London is a great city, but it can also be hectic, overwhelming, lonely and downright unfriendly. The South London Care’s remedy is in bringing together people who wouldn’t ordinarily meet, and the magic is in the laughs shared, chats had, and biscuits gobbled!
My advice to anyone thinking about getting involved is don’t hold back, give it a go! I hope to see you at a Social Club soon.
Posted by Kirsty Kenney on Wednesday 5th June 2019
Kirsty Kenney has been volunteering at Social Clubs with South London Cares since 2019.