Meet our neighbours

Amanda, 84 – Elephant and Castle Social Club

"The first time I came here it was in '57. I was in Cardiff, my husband and myself. We went home to Sierra Leone, he continued his work, then we came back in the 60s on holiday. But my final move was 1990 when my daughter-in-law moved here. They granted me stay, and now I am a citizen.

Most of the time I just sit at home looking at the television [pointing at face] – this part of my face is BBC One, you have CNN over here – everyday in front of the television. My family pick me up to go to church and bring me back, but sometimes I don’t go anywhere.

South London Cares was announced at our housing scheme meeting. Tess and Hannah came to introduce themselves. And I was too glad. The first time they took us to Bermondsey. The laughter, the mixture, the talking to people - I enjoy myself. Mixing myself, it’s good.

I am a Grandma so I enjoy young people. They make us laugh. I know that every Thursday I come and laugh. It’s really nice.

Thank you for coming and entertaining us. Anything you do I accept. I am glad - honest. I know that every Thursday I’ll be here, you know? You make me laugh."

Richard, 81 – Brixton and Stockwell Social Clubs

"My sister, Eve, has Alzheimer’s. It was decided that she should be in a care home, and it’s where she has been for the last two years.

I’d been accustomed to living with Eve, in this great big old house, for forty odd years. So habits were well ingrained. It was a huge change. But I wanted – first and foremost – what was best for Eve; to such an extent that I put all my thoughts and all my efforts into getting it right for her. I thought, I suppose, that it would follow that I would be O.K. as well. But in fact, I was wrong.

Without intending it or thinking about it, I have become a lonely old man. And I don’t like it.

So I have a bit of a problem. Which I didn’t expect. But when the opportunity of South London Cares came, I thought ‘Yeah, this is good’.

My sister always said ‘it’s people, not places, that matter’. For instance, sometimes on a Tuesday evening, you have an Art Club. I’m useless at that! The first time I went – if I could have run for the door, I would have! But they were so sweet and friendly and kind, gentle people; I was more or less allowed to remain as a spectator.

The whole thing is about people. But it isn’t just any old people. It needs to be people in whose company you feel comfortable. I love it when people come here or I to go one of your things. You are doing a fantastic job and such a worthwhile thing. Thank goodness you do, as I am the one who benefits from it.

You have sussed out what is priority in your structure, because you might think ‘old people with old people’. But that is not a formula for success. The formula for success is when you have much younger people, which is why I think it’s a kind of miracle that young people are prepared to come. It’s us oldies that get the benefit. But it works because you really feel you are being carried forward. You are not being left behind."

Fredrick, 93 – Love Your Neighbour match with Charlotte in Walworth

"I was born on Oswin Street in Elephant and Castle. I moved into Charleston Street – that’s when I joined the army. I’ve lived here all my life.

My carer comes in 3 times a day for 20 – 25 minutes. I sit here watching the TV. You get bored stiff. I want to get out, have a walk round. Get down East Lane. Do my little shopping at the stalls.

Charlotte brought all the Dominos round. She said “can you play?” I said “of course I can!”

I started teaching her, and of course I started going to town beating her. All of a sudden it turned the other way. She’s coming out, beating me 10 games to 2! You wouldn’t believe it! I said “you told me you couldn’t play Dominos!” And she said “no, I don’t”. And I said “Well, you’ve certainly learnt quick!”

But we did enjoy it. And she stayed here quite late. We both enjoyed it.

I enjoy the atmosphere. The way she talks. She talks about her nursing job and all the writing she has to do. She comes here for relaxation as well - which she says she enjoys, which I was pleased about. I gave her a few tales of the War; she liked that!

It’s a great help, having someone to talk to. You tell Charlotte – always welcome. Any time you like. It’s nice to have company."

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