Outreach: An Older Neighbour’s Journey

If you’ve spent any time scrolling through our socials (we highly recommend it!), you’ll have heard from some of the incredible neighbours that make up the South London Cares community. You may have also found yourself asking:

How do you meet these wonderful people?

How does their journey with South London Cares start?

"How do you stay connected with them throughout the year?

Well, the Outreach team at South London Cares plays a big part in this, and to answer your first question we’ve made this super eye-catching visual…

Meeting Ons 2

And to answer your second question – it starts with “Hello”….

Once we’ve met a new neighbour, the first thing the Outreach team does is to call them and have a chat to let them know about our programmes, and more importantly to find out a bit more about them. No topics are off limits during these calls - we love hearing about peoples’ interests and some of their fascinating stories (like this one from Anthony).

26 New Neighbours

After an initial chat we’ll send over some further information by post or email, and either sign them up to receive our monthly Social Clubs programme, refer them to our Love Your Neighbour team, or both, depending on what they’re interested in. Over the past 2 months, we’ve met 26 new neighbours.

It continues with “Hello”…

After a month or so we’ll follow up with another call to the neighbour, as we understand that starting something new and meeting new people isn’t always simple and can be quite daunting for some. We’ll chat about what they’ve been up to since we last spoke, and if they’d like, also chat about some of the issues they may be facing.

Things such as financial stress, lack of accessible transport, lack of digital access and physical and mental health conditions can act as barriers to connection, so being aware of these, and empowering neighbours to find solutions, is an important part of the Outreach role. Everyone is different, so we do our best to connect people with specific community support groups and services. Over the past 2 months, these are just some of the fantastic groups we’ve worked with:

Referral Partners

Staying connected...

Checking in with those who have taken that first step and joined their first ever social club is really important. Not only is it a chance for them to share their thoughts about the club, it also provides our Social Clubs team with invaluable insight and feedback, which they can use to adapt the programme. For example, Diana (82) kindly shared with us her experience of joining her first social club (a clay workshop):

Clay Workshop Diana

As well as following up after an initial call and a first social club, we stay connected with those we haven’t seen in a while through our Re-engagement programme. These can be a great way to find out what our neighbours have been up to, and let them know about the various social clubs we have on.

Re Engagement Minutes

Over the past 2 months, the Outreach team have spent a total of 446 minutes on Re-engagement calls. As well as calls, we also held our first ever in-person Re-engagement event in March. Not only did our Drop-In Coffee Morning in Brixton welcome back some neighbours we hadn’t seen since 2019, but we even had a new member come along for the first time!

Hopefully this has given you a bit of an insight into an older neighbour’s journey with South London Cares – if you know anyone who wants to join our programmes or you’d like to join yourself, you can sign up here.

Deepika Patel

Posted by Deepika Patel on Thursday 19th May 2022

Deepika provides part-time support to our Volunteer and Outreach programme and works across the team to support neighbours to join our programmes. n.