We can’t quite believe it: we’re 3 years old!
It’s been exactly three years since South London Cares started out to build a community network connecting younger and older neighbours across Southwark and Lambeth. We hoped that we could tackle isolation and loneliness in our changing city by creating meaningful friendships across social, generational and cultural divides which would enrich the lives of everyone involved.
And so, three years on, it’s a special moment to see that these aims have become reality - all thanks to the time, care, energy, companionship and kindness of all our south London neighbours. A fun-loving, story-telling, friend-making bunch aged 21 to 101. From Bermondsey to Brixton, from Herne Hill to Streatham Hill and everywhere in between, our community network continues to grow and strengthen.
In three years we’ve mobilised just under 1000 young professionals who have volunteered by hanging out and helping over 1100 of their older neighbours. Over the past year alone, younger and older neighbours have hung out together at 225 Social Clubs, in community centres and cafes, singing and sharing films, visiting art galleries and volunteers' workplaces together. You've danced, laughed, had a crack at script reading, and some of you have dressed up in ridiculous outfits for our parties and shared stories over pints in the pub.
Alongside our social clubs, we’ve now connected over 200 neighbours for weekly visits and lasting friendships one-to-one through our Love Your Neighbour programme. Every week we hear about our 65 current friendships between Emilie, Sam, Charlotte and Nick with neighbours Daisy, Theresa, Lupita and Brian to share the friendship which can make someone’s day. Something we hear a lot is that despite only knowing one another for a few months or a year, it feels like much longer: “it’s like we’re old friends”.
None of these wonderful activities would be possible without the generous support of our community networks and funders. Over the last twelve months, 43 people have taken on a challenge for South London Cares - from to triathlons, to the London Marathon. And this year we held our first fundraising gala, a special evening full of generosity, dancing and laughter. Our thanks go to all our funders and donors who have helped turn our ambitions into reality. We wouldn’t be here without you.
We’re also grateful to our community partnerships who help us to make our activities possible. From community centres, pharmacies and pubs to local businesses and corporate supporters who host and help regularly - thank you!
Now that the candles on our birthday cake have been blown out we’ve got a lot to get on with: planning next month’s social clubs, reaching out to new volunteers and visiting that older neighbour who’s having a tough time. Thank you to everyone involved with South London Cares for making this very normal idea, of neighbourliness and community, very special for so many people.
Now, who’s coming with us as we enter our fourth year?
Posted by Tess Young on Thursday 3rd August 2017
Tess leads on operations at South London Cares, North London Cares and Manchester Cares.