Volunteers’ Week 2021: “It’s an amazing opportunity to branch out and have friends of different ages”

Our programmes are only possible thanks to our amazing network of younger neighbours who share conversation, friendship and laughter across the generations. 

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But our programmes are mutually beneficial. That means our younger neighbours get just as much out of our network as their older neighbours. To mark volunteers’ week, we spoke to five younger neighbours to find out why they love being part of our growing community.

Laughing with Lucy

Lucy, 25, was matched with David, 75, on our Love Your Neighbour programme in February. For the last four months, they have been getting to know each other over their shared love of Shakespeare and Geordie roots. 

“Speaking to David is the highlight of my week! We have a very familiar sense of humour and so spend most of the time wisecracking jokes (mainly from him as he’s a lot funnier than I am). He also has so many interesting facts about London and has had such an interesting life, it’s lovely to just sit and listen to him! I can’t wait until we can meet up in person.” - Lucy

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Baking with Jen

As well as spending time with older neighbours by attending social clubs, some of our younger neighbours help to keep our programme exciting by running social clubs and sharing their skills and passions. Jen is a part time baker based in east London  (@Jens_homemade_bakes on Instagram) and hosted a virtual bake-along workshop in April. 

“I discovered my passion for baking (and eating!) through my grandmother. As a long-term resident of Tower Hamlets since I moved from Paris (farewell patisseries!), the mission statement of East London Cares really resonated with me. Being someone who both loves baking (and talking about baking), and seeing how much joy my granny derives from sharing her passion still, I thought I would combine the two through a baking class with older neighbours.

I was so happy that attendees enjoyed the class and that those, who hadn't really baked before, had a chance to step out of their comfort zone.  It was so lovely hearing about their amazing life stories too. I really look forward to the next baking class in July! Bring your appetites!” - Jen

Chippy with Lindsay

Lindsay, 34, was matched with Violet, 86, on our Love Your Neighbour programme over a year ago in May 2020. These friends have  spoken on the phone over 100 times! Though they’ve never hung out in person, the pair have become firm friends, and Lindsay has dropped off fish and chips for Violet while she’s been stuck indoors. 

“t’s been lovely to get to know her over the year, our conversations always flow easily, and she is there for me as much as I am for her. I am looking forward to meeting in person!” Lindsay

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Memories with Mark

Our network is full of people with different hobbies, passions and interests, and we are always delighted when our neighbours want to share those with us. Mark is a local artist, and in May he ran an intriguing virtual workshop about how objects can evoke memories. 

“I thought the idea of reflecting on objects that prompt memories was pertinent given the circumstances of the pandemic we have all had to face over the last 15 months.

It was fantastic to hear from people about the things that matter to them and why. Reflecting on objects with personal meaning sparked exciting and often unexpected responses.” - Mark

Friendship with Sinead

Rose And Sinead

Sinead, 32, met Rose,73, through our Love Your Neighbour programme last October. They’ve shared over 26 hours of conversation so far, and even spoke about their friendship in this local magazine! 

“I wanted to get involved as I find we don’t have much interaction in this country with older generations and I think it’s an amazing opportunity to branch out and have friends of different ages. I think older people can offer a different perspective and it’s nice to have a wider friendship base/circle.

I enjoy the conversations we have and getting to know Rose, hearing about her life and her history with London. She’s lived an amazing life and I like getting her input on decisions and things I’m going through as well.” - Sinead

This Volunteers’ Week, we want to say a huge thank you to our network of younger neighbours for sharing time, friendship and their skills with our community. If you’d like to join our growing family, you can sign up for a volunteer induction here. 

This Volunteers’ Week, we want to say a huge thank you to our network of younger neighbours for sharing time, friendship and their skills with our community. If you’d like to join our growing family, you can sign up for a volunteer induction here

Rob Paterson

Posted by Rob Paterson on Wednesday 2nd June 2021

Development Coordinator for East London Cares.

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