Frequently asked questions

How do I get involved in South London Cares?

Fill out our get involved form to sign up! Once you’ve completed the form, a member of our team will be in touch to let you know how it all works and the next steps for getting involved. Soon enough you’ll be grooving away like Nana, Beverley and the rest of the neighbours at our Congolese Dance Workshop or sharing stories with a new older or younger friend.

What commitment do I need to make to volunteer?

South London Cares wants to make volunteering accessible, fun and flexible for our younger neighbours. We know that people have busy lives, juggling various commitments from work, caring responsibilities to socialising, so we’ve tried to make being part of our South London Cares community as simple and quick as possible. Our social clubs take place over the phone, over zoom and in-person, so you can turn up from the comfort of your sofa or join us in our different locations across Southwark and Lambeth. If you sign up to volunteer at our social clubs, you can come as often or infrequently as you like. However, we do ask that you only book onto social clubs that you can definitely attend so that everyone in our network has the chance to attend different activities.

Our Love Your Neighbour programme requires more commitment from volunteers, as you’ll be expected to visit or speak to an older neighbour regularly each week, so that you and your older neighbour can get to know each other. You can let us know what type of commitment works best for you – whether it’s two or three 20 minute calls each week, or a one hour visit – and we’ll match you with someone who has similar preferences.

What's best for me – Social Clubs or Love Your Neighbour?

That depends on you! If you have limited time, you may prefer our programme of regular social clubs that you can drop in and out, allowing you to be flexible with how regularly you are involved with South London Cares.

If you don’t like groups or would like to build a close one-to-one relationship with a younger or older neighbour, Love Your Neighbour may. We always recommend that new volunteers give social clubs a go so they get to know our community and check they are able to volunteer regularly around other commitments.

Do I have to live in Southwark or Lambeth?

Nope – you can live or work in our two boroughs, or you can travel in from where you are. All of our programmes take place in Southwark and Lambeth, and 99% of our older neighbours are based in these boroughs. But don’t worry if you’re not connected to these two boroughs: we’ve got you covered. We now have our brilliant sister charities connecting younger and older neighbours in north and east London as well as in Manchester and Liverpool! North London Cares covers Camden and Islington, whilst East London Cares works in Hackney and Tower Hamlets. And Manchester Cares and Liverpool Cares are based in these two fantastic cities in the North West.

What to expect at a Social Club and what to bring along?

Our Social Clubs programme includes free activities that take place both in-person, online and over the phone. They bring older (65+) and younger people from across south London together for fun, laughter, friendship and new experiences. Your role at clubs is simple – to be a friendly face, listening ear, and get stuck into the activity.

You don’t need to bring anything – just an open mind and a chatty demeanour. But if you’re a photographer, gardener, historian, comedian, musician or have any other hidden talents, we'd love to talk to you about how we can use those to create new and exciting social clubs for our neighbours to enjoy!

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

We welcome referrals from all local partners, including other community organisations and health/social care professionals, as well as relatives or friends. We also accept self-referrals.

However, South London Cares has guidelines on what our volunteers can and can't support with. Volunteers are not trained staff – rather, they are south Londoners who'd like to feel more connected to their community and have mutually beneficial friendships with local older neighbours. 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, friendships and experiences.

Please head over to our make a referral page, where you can read more about our programmes and our referral criteria. We’ll then ask for some more information about the older neighbour you’d like to refer. Please be aware that we may need to make our own assessments on whether our programmes are appropriate and will be beneficial for new neighbours. Please get in touch on 020 7118 0404 (option 2) if you have any questions about referrals or the referral form.

How are you ensuring your programmes are safe?

The safety, comfort and wellbeing of our neighbours is our first priority at South London Cares.

We have COVID-19 safety measures – in line with government guidance and scientific advice – in place at our Social Clubs and on our other programmes. Since guidelines are subject to change and all our programmes are a bit different, each programme will provide you with more specific guidance when you take part.

How can I give money to support South London Cares?

This network is part-funded by you, our supporters, and we'd love you to make a donation to support our work, or to fundraise for us through a challenge or activity whether that’s hosting your own quiz or a pop-up event. There are loads of ways you can support South London Cares, so please visit our fundraising page to find out more.