Nunhead neighbours Roy (73) and Tara (33) have been matched through our Love Your Neighbour Programme for more than two and a half years. This week, we interviewed them to find out a bit more about their friendship.
Roy: "A girl came around and she was knocking on the doors. She was from South London Cares and she said 'Would you like us to keep in contact with you?' and I went 'Yes, that’d be nice!'. Since then I've had Jack (Roy’s previous Love Your Neighbour match), he's gone up to Scotland and now I have Tara, she's a lovely girl. I take the mick out of her sometimes, but she's a very intelligent girl!"
Tara: "I really wanted to make connections in my local community and make new friends. I've lived in the area my entire life and so I'm always keen to feel connected to it. My grandpa passed away a year or so before I joined South London Cares and I was very close with him, so I think that made me feel like I wanted to connect with his generation."
Roy: "Well, she's such a nice girl. She's taken me up to the cemetery where my kids are buried a few times, which I was very grateful for, and we've gone out and about."
Tara: "We went to the garden centre, that was fun. On the way there, Roy was pointing out lots of places from his past, which was nice."
Roy: "Yes, I remember I told you where my mum's fields were and l showed you where the stables were, because my mum had horses."
Tara: "We both like animals too, so we like watching the birds in Roy’s garden and talking about nature."
Roy: "It's just local chat, you know, what we’ve been up to. I ask 'where are you going?', because Tara is always going somewhere! We just talk about how she’s getting on at work, what we’ve watched on the telly and things like that."
Tara: "We just chat about whatever, do you know what I mean? It'd be weird if you asked any of your friends, 'what do you talk about?' It would be like 'what do you mean what do we talk about? We talk about everything!' And it's the same with Roy, we just catch up and chat."
Roy: "Well she's just someone I didn't know, but I know now and and I'm very grateful that I speak to her and see her. You know, she's a lovely girl."
Tara: "How does it differ? It doesn't, in a lot of ways. We talk about everything that I talk about with my friends and we have a very open, honest relationship. But I probably would never have been friends with Roy, if it wasn't for South London Cares. You know, we come from very different places and I really like that. He's had a really diverse and exciting life and I really like hearing about it; it's very different to what my life has been so far. So yeah, I feel like I grow a lot from talking to Roy."
Roy: "It's nice speaking to someone who's younger, it just brings my memories back, you know? They start to flood into my head. The best thing is just seeing her, just the way she is. She's bubbly, she's nice, she's intelligent. She's a lovely girl. I look forward to seeing her, put it like that. Mind you, I haven't seen her for so long, I think that when we do see each other again, we’ll have to meet under the big clock at Waterloo station with a carnation so I can recognise her!"
Tara: "He's like a walking encyclopaedia! What I really like is when we're looking at the birds, or we're talking about trees or anything like that, he knows so much about that stuff. He can always name things and so I learn a lot about nature, which is great. And a lot about him! I like that he's a funny guy, Roy, he's always cracking a joke. I really enjoy walking down memory lane with him, that's always nice. It’s just become really comfortable; it's like talking to any friend. It just feels restorative."
Roy: "I've told quite a few people that I’ve joined South London Cares, and they ask 'who are they?', and then I'll tell them about you and I've even given your telephone number to a couple of people."
Tara: "Yeah, like you Roy, I’ve recommended it to quite a few people. I can understand that it can be nerve wracking, meeting new people. But, you know, I've only had really good experiences. I've done a lot of social clubs as well and if you just go in with an open heart you'll have fun, it's always fun. I've made a great friend, so I've enjoyed it so far."
Roy and Tara are looking forward to being able to meet up in person again. They're planning to visit the London Aquarium, catch a cable car across the Thames and even come along to some of our Social Clubs together! We're currently working hard to return to face-to-face activity in a way that's safe, fair and sustainable. We're not sure when it will be possible for new Love Your Neighbour matches to meet in person, but if Roy and Tara have inspired you to get involved, you can apply here, or contact Eleanor (Southwark) or Lauren (Lambeth) to find out more.
Posted by Eleanor Younge on Friday 9th April 2021
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.