"We chatted like long lost friends": Eleanor on a year of volunteering at social clubs

​Eleanor came to her first social club back in May 2017. In our latest blog she shares her experiences of loneliness, and looks back on a year of yoga, singing The Lion King, and the joy of making friends with her older neighbours.

26991794 831646683686442 779055109803990996 N 1

I am a typical thirty-something old; I have a stressful office job, I go to the occasional social gathering with friends and I enjoy spending time with my family.  However, as I’ve grown older, I have noticed the importance of cultivating friendships; my Mum once said to me that I would be lucky if I can count on one hand the number of people I can call friends. How true those words are.  I try and live each day as it comes and one of my mottos in life is to be kind.

23518955 800095826841528 6345488912356519036 N

When I heard about South London Cares through a colleague at work, I was immediately interested and keen to find out more.  I was so excited about being invited to the induction evening and I soon felt like I was part of a family.  I come from a Greek Cypriot background and I was struck at the warmth, compassion and friendliness of everyone I met.

My first social club was film club on a warm Sunday afternoon.  I started by making cups of tea and everyone was so welcoming.  I remember thinking that I could see how much the social clubs meant to our older neighbours and to this day, I aim to come to at least two social clubs a month.

27972220 838796196304824 5567646713900865668 N

One of my favourite social clubs was yoga club.  I had had a particularly long day at work, but as I walked through the door, I was greeted warmly by an older neighbour I had had a blast with at quiz club a couple of months previously (we had both been on the losing team!) and from the minute I sat down, we chatted like long-lost friends. I also love the choir social clubs, which I have been to on numerous occasions.  A memory that always makes me smile is when we were learning the chorus of The Lion King’s ‘Circle of Life’: cue much giggling and outburst of song! It was an utterly brilliant moment and I was singing to myself all the way home. 

I have often been hit by waves of loneliness myself; I have sometimes felt utterly alone in a world where social media creates the impression that everyone else is having a better time out there than you.  I therefore go along to each social club with the view that if I can make someone smile or laugh, or if I can have a meaningful conversation with an older neighbour, I have made a difference, however small, to someone’s life.  And that is what counts.

28055979 845146305669813 6678386350346208466 N

To anyone thinking about signing up to South London Cares, please don’t think – just do.  I’m sure that everyone would agree with me that combatting loneliness in an ever changing and stressful society really should be an aspiration to many more.  This is a fantastic charity and I am proud to be a part of it

Eleanor Wilson

Posted by Eleanor Wilson on Wednesday 6th June 2018

Eleanor has been coming to South London Cares' social clubs since May 2017. She works as a lawyer when she's not singing The Lion King soundtrack at choir with her older neighbours! 

View all of our supporters South London Cares is partnered with...

Living in Camden or Islington? Check out our sister charity North London Cares