Frequently asked questions

How do I sign up to volunteer?

If you’re interested in group activities, you can read about our Social Clubs here. If volunteering one-to-one is up your street, find out more about our Love Your Neighbour project here. At the bottom of both pages you’ll find a short sign up form. Once you’ve filled it in, Matt will be in touch to invite you along to one of our monthly induction evenings. We'll have you meeting up with Miriam and Peter in no time!

How do the inductions work?

Inductions are a chance to hear what it’s like to be part of our community network and to meet the South London Cares team before you start volunteering. You’ll meet lots of other new volunteers and find out everything you need to know about hanging out with your older neighbours! The inductions take place once a month on a weekday evening, between 7-9pm.

I work long/unpredictable hours. Can I still volunteer?

We hear you. This is part of why South London Cares exists – to make it easy for young professionals with busy lives to feel part of the community. If you can spare an hour or two every fortnight, great – Love Your Neighbour might be for you. Otherwise, if things are a bit more unpredictable, jump in and out of our Social Clubs whenever you can spare a few hours during an evening and weekend soon.

And if that’s proving tricky, you could also make our activities possible by donating to South London Cares.

What commitment do I need to make to volunteer?

South London Cares tries to make volunteering accessible, fun and flexible for young professionals. We know that people have busy work and social lives – but that shouldn't stop you from feeling part of the community too. That means we've tried to cut as much bureaucracy and time out of our processes as possible so that you can be part of it simply and quickly. We don't ask that people turn up at the same time and place week after week. Rather, we've built a pool of volunteers who together can be part of the community in a way that suits them.

If you sign up for our Social Clubs, ideally you'll come along twice a month, but you can come as often or infrequently as you like. But we do ask that Love Your Neighbour volunteers visit their neighbours once a week (although still at a time that suits you both – we won't dictate that).

Do I need to live in Southwark or Lambeth?

For social clubs, no. You can live or work in one of our two boroughs, or you can travel in from where you live (although do factor in travel time though when you’re thinking about whether or not you can fit SLC into your week!). For Love Your Neighbour, you’ll need to live in one of the two boroughs, as we’ve found it works best when a volunteer is visiting someone who lives nearby.

Do I have to be a ‘young professional’ to volunteer?

We aim to mobilise young professionals, and nearly all of our volunteers are in their twenties or thirties. Why? Young professionals often have hundreds of social connections, but often lack deep roots within their community – and don’t have much opportunity to meet the older people who live nearby. Meanwhile, their older neighbours often have very deep roots in their community, but fewer and fewer social connections as the years go by. As a result, these groups have so much to offer each other. We’ve also found that, on the whole, young professionals feel more able to volunteer regularly as they have fewer commitments than other age groups.

Having said that, if you don’t define yourself as a ‘young professional’ but you’d still like to volunteer and get to know people over 65 in Southwark and Lambeth, we’d love you to get involved.

Do I need to bring anything along to a social club?

Nope. Just bring yourself, an open mind, and be ready to chat!

And in between chatting to Tim and sharing a cuppa with Gloria, make sure to let us know if you're a photographer, gardener, cook, comedian, musician or have some other mad skills. We'd love to talk to you about how we can use said skills to create new and exciting activities for our future social clubs.

My team at work is looking for opportunities to volunteer together – can we do this with South London Cares?

Yes! In the past tech, fashion and finance companies have invited groups of older neighbours into their workplaces for ‘back to work’ days. These businesses have given their older neighbours fantastic experiences and provided reassurance that these new places, spaces and enterprises are open to them – helping them to feel valued and visible.

We’ve also had teams volunteer together at our daytime social clubs, help with outreach, and raise money together through bake off style competitions in the office! To find out more, email [email protected]

What if I know an older neighbour who'd benefit from South London Cares?

Back in the day, we all knew a neighbour who we looked out for. But in today's rapidly changing city, some of those community bonds appear to have disappeared. It's no one's fault – it's just the modern world. That's why we exist, to help connect older people up to the great people who live nearby. If you know someone over 65 who could benefit from more social connections, we’d love to hear from you! Email Matt at [email protected] to discuss next steps.

I'm over 65 and would love to get involved with South London Cares. How do I get started?

Firstly, that's great news! We know so many people in the area who would love to get to know you.

It's very easy to get started. Give us a call on 020 7118 0404. We'll answer any questions, and let you about what's going on in your area.

If you're interested in Social Clubs we'll also send you our monthly programme of events through the post or via email (whichever you prefer). If it's Love Your Neighbour, our one-to-one friendship match programme, that interests you, we'll talk through how it works and arrange for Eleanor or Lauren, who lead on this programme, to come and meet you to tell you more!

I'm a health/social care professional - can I make a referral to South London Cares?

South London Cares has guidelines on who our volunteers can and can't support. Volunteers are not clinical staff – rather, they are south Londoners who'd like to help people feel more connected and valued. We say that our model, and our amazing volunteers, do not make life liveable (feeding, clothing or washing people); rather they make life worth living with new opportunities, friendship and horizons. We do take referrals from statutory and healthcare services – such as housing associations, GPs, and social care providers – but please be aware that we may need to make our own assessments on whether older neighbours can realistically benefit from our activities. To make a referral to either our Love Your Neighbour or Social Clubs project, please email [email protected].

How do I give money to support South London Cares?

We'd love you to make a donation to support our work, or to fundraise for us through a challenge or activity. In the past our heroic supporters have run marathons, organised comedy gigs and baked ridiculous amounts of cake. There are loads of ways you can support South London Cares: visit our fundraising page here.

But I live in north London – can I be part of it too?

Actually, yes! Our sister charity North London Cares has been going since 2011. We work closely with the team there and they're all superstars. So if you're in Camden or Islington, check out North London Cares. And we recently opened East London Cares, who work across Tower Hamlets and Hackney, and they would love to hear from you. We also have Manchester Cares and Liverpool Cares, so if you have friends or relatives up there then please tell them about what we do and suggest they get in touch!

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