As part of our second birthday celebrations this month, we're introducing the East London Cares team and finding out a bit more about what brought each of us to The Cares Family. Roxi is Head of Programmes at East London Cares, and joined the team in September 2020.
What brought you to East London Cares?
I was the Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator at North London Cares for three years before joining the East team. I found NLC after I'd been working by myself for six months, I had a little shop in Haggerston which had been a dream of mine for years. Even though I loved the shop I found myself feeling really lonely most days, I think I might have even Googled "loneliness in London" and there North London Cares was! At the time, East London Cares didn't exist, but I knew if the charity ever started a branch there that I wanted to be part of it. I grew up in Bow and all of my family are from east London, so it's an area very close to my heart – it doesn't matter where I move to, I'll always be an east Londoner!
What do you enjoy most about your role here?
It's so exciting seeing people who may never have crossed paths, meet for the first time and just get chatting! I think seeing people be brave and put themselves out there has made me much braver too.
No two days are ever the same here which is really refreshing, and I have an amazing team – there's nothing better than hearing them get excited about a new Love Your Neighbour match, a social club that went really well, a funny conversation that was had during outreach, or new fundraiser who has run a marathon for their east London neighbours.
Where’s your favourite east London spot and why?
Walthamstow Market always reminds me of my Nan and going on shopping trips with her at the weekend. She knew everyone, so shopping would take hours because she spent most of the time chatting to the stall holders!
The Museum of Childhood is also one of my favourite places to visit – it's nearly 150 years old and is east London's first public museum. I used to go on lots of school trips there, and as an adult I've always found it a calming space. It's closed at the moment and will soon become Young V&A, so I'm looking forward to seeing what it looks like when it reopens.
What tips would you give to someone wanting to get involved with our programmes?
Introducing yourself to strangers can be quite intimidating, but try not to let nerves stand in your way. Just be yourself, say hello, and don't be afraid to talk about yourself! Sometimes the best conversations come from just sharing the last thing that made you laugh or what you're planning to have for dinner.
Describe the East London Cares community in three words…
Brave, fun, family.
What’s your birthday wish for East London Cares?
I hope we continue to meet lots of new older and younger neighbours and see lots of new friendships blossom. I'd love to go on a ELC pop up shop tour around Hackney and Tower Hamlets and take residency in empty shop spaces for a few days at a time – we could host social clubs in them, invite people in for a chat and a cup of tea, and turn empty units into places for social connection. I really want us to start a voguing social club too!
If you're interested in partnering with East London Cares or have any questions about our work, give Roxi a call on 0207 118 4949 option 0 or email [email protected].
Posted by Roxi Rustem on Friday 8th October 2021
Roxi leads the team at East London Cares. She previously coordinated the Volunteer and Outreach programme at North London Cares and worked as the Community Engagement Manager for St Margaret's House in Bethnal Green.