Love Your Neighbour: Behind the Scenes

Have you ever wondered what's involved in creating friendships between older and younger people? Perhaps you’ve seen photos on our social media channels and been concerned that we’ve simply found two strangers on the street, introduced them to one another and put our feet up with a cuppa for the rest of the week. Fear not, as this blog gives a behind-the-scenes look into what our Love Your Neighbour team get up to in a typical month and how we ensure that the friendships created on our programme are fun, safe and sustainable.

Over the past month, our team of three has:

1

Made 157 phone calls

We spend lots of time on the phone, especially to older neighbours. Many of them aren’t connected digitally (yet!), and so the trusty landline remains the best way for us to get in touch. We call people for lots of different reasons. For older neighbours who we’ve never met, we’ll spend time getting to know them and explaining how our programmes work. For older and younger neighbours already matched on the programme, we check in on a regular basis to see how they’re getting on. We also provide ad-hoc support when needed, so some calls may involve connecting neighbours to other community organisations in Southwark and Lambeth.

Ray And Conor

Inducted 5 volunteers

All of the younger neighbours who sign up to take part in Love Your Neighbour start with a short induction session with a member of our team, to learn more about their role and to ask any questions they have. This month's volunteers include Vaiva (25), who moved to London in November; Joe (23), who’s a football fan; and Josiane (29), who's a sociologist by trade.

2

Been on 19 visits

When an older neighbour is interested in joining the Love Your Neighbour Programme, we always visit them at home to introduce ourselves. These visits allow us to get to know one another and see whether Love Your Neighbour is the sort of thing they're looking for. We also make time to visit older neighbours who are already matched on the programme, just to say hello. This month we’ve been to see Bushra (82), who’s brand new to our community; John (77), who's also started coming along to our social clubs; Tony (76) who recently helped us to make a film about our work and many more wonderful people.

Saffina And Natalie

Planned 5 matches

When we find a pair of neighbours who we think would get along well, we organise an introductory visit. This involves a member of our team bringing the volunteer on their first visit and facilitating the conversation. These visits give both neighbours a chance to suss each other out, get to know one another and ensure that they're happy to go ahead. This month's matches include avid gardeners Saffina (80) and Natalie (37) and transport enthusiasts Ray (75) and Conor (29). We're really looking forward to watching these friendships bloom and we're hoping that they'll be in full swing before long!

None of this work would be possible without the brilliant older and younger people at the heart of the programme, and we're always on the lookout for more neighbours to get involved.

So, if you'd like to join our Love Your Neighbour programme as an older or younger neighbour, or if you're part of a local community group and would like to work with us, we'd love to hear from you. You can sign up here, email [email protected], or give us call on 0208 118 0404.

Eleanor Younge

Posted by Eleanor Younge on Friday 8th April 2022

Eleanor leads on our Love Your Neighbour programme in Southwark, connecting younger and older neighbours one-to-one for weekly visits and longterm friendship. Previously Eleanor worked for an international development charity in Ireland.