Working together to beat the ice

What do you get when you mix a pandemic, snow, freezing temperatures, and an urgent need for bananas? Answer: A heartwarming story of community connection!


Meet Frances. Born in Elephant & Castle in 1921. Long term resident of Streatham. A former member of the Women’s Land Army, professional dancer, and fitness instructor.

Frances has been a highly active member of our community for several years. A quick search of our Facebook feed will show her interacting with fellow neighbours and doing everything from creative writing to cavorting outside Buckingham Palace!

As well as Frances’ Social Club shenanigans, there are also numerous stories about her enjoying the likes of Sotherby’s exhibitions, whiskey and random BBC 4 documentaries with her Love Your Neighbour match, James.

James And Frances Cropped

If you still need convincing as to Frances’ love of life, then check out this incredible ‘catwalk’ video from our London Fashion Week party in Brixton back in 2018. What. A. Star.

Frances' warmth and spirit are infectious, and not even COVID-19 with its lockdowns and social distancing have been enough to down tread her energy.

This week, however, posed a new dilemma.

First came the snow, then came the cold, and then came the ice. A trip to the shops was suddenly looking pretty dicey. Quite rightly, Frances decided that a trip outside was just too risky.

With a bit of notice, Frances would have been able to call on a neighbour, or a couple of nearby friends. However, Frances had run out of bananas and is under strict orders from her GP to eat them every day. Which she does, despite the fact she doesn’t like them — what a trooper! Time was of the essence, so she called us to see if we could help.

In such situations, there are a couple of community partners we turn to. GoodGym have an army of volunteers who have been brilliant at running (literally) all sorts of essential errands for older people during the pandemic. On this occasion, we got in touch with another amazing organisation, On Hand.

A quick email exchange with the On Hand team suggested that despite the late afternoon hour, they’d try their best to find a willing volunteer. So, the request was made and fingers were crossed…

Just twenty-two minutes later we received confirmation that On Hand volunteer, Aron had put himself forward to help Frances out. Not only that, Frances had already received a call to see if there was anything else she needed. A quick trip to the local shop and before she knew it, Frances was back in bananas!

Copy Screenshot 2021 02 11 At 09 16 52

Aron provided us with this picture of him making the delivery and said:

"All good... small food shop and a lot of bananas 🍌 all sorted". What a legend. Thank you, Aron!

Frances was overjoyed at the support. She told us: ‘There might be bad things out there at the moment, but there really are lots of good things too. I’m amazed at the pleasantness and goodness of people.’

At times like this, it is great to be reminded of just how supportive our local community can be.

If you would like to find out more about On Hand and the support they provide, visit their website, contact them at [email protected] or call 0203 488 2912.

To find out more about programmes at South London Cares, email [email protected] or call 0207 118 0404.

Matt Scaysbrook

Posted by Matt Scaysbrook on Friday 12th February 2021

Matt manages our growing volunteer network and leads on reaching older south Londoners - introducing them to South London Cares and our programmes.