The difference we make

Over recent years the issues of loneliness and isolation amongst older and younger people in our rapidly changing cities have become better understood. 

Loneliness has been shown to be as bad for people's health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and can bring on strokes, heart attacks and dementia. Two in five older people – two in five – say the TV is their main form of company. 17%  see friends of family less than once a week; 11% less than once a month. And one in ten GP appointments is made by an older person with no other condition than that they're lonely.

But loneliness is not just a later life problem. On the contrary: studies show that young people are at least the second loneliest age group and may even be the loneliest.

That's why older and younger neighbours have so much to gain from one another in shared time, laughter, new experiences and friendship. And it's why we believe East London Cares is so important – because it works.

Two major evaluations over the past three years have demonstrated the impact of this model. The first evaluation of The Cares Family approach, published in 2014, showed that of older people participating in activities regularly:

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It also showed that the model works because it is targeted at people most likely to benefit, including:

  • The 'oldest old' – 52% of the older neighbours The Cares Family works with are over 80;
  • People who live alone – 69% of older neighbours participating regularly in our activities live alone;
  • People who live in social or housing association homes – 59% of older neighbours we work with are social tenants;
  • Older women – 69% of older neighbours who are part of the network are women.
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Crucially, the younger volunteers who are part of the programmes benefit too:

  • 98% say they have a greater connection to the community as a result of being part of the network;
  • 98% say they've been able to contribute in a way they otherwise would not;
  • 97% say that they are more able to appreciate older people as a results of their interactions.
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A second evaluation in 2016 underscored these outcomes, with older neighbours reporting that over time they:

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The human stories at the heart of these statistics can be seen in our film, below, or by downloading our sibling charities' 2014 and 2016 impact reports. 

View all of our supporters East London Cares is partnered with...

Living in Southwark or Lambeth? Check out our sister charity South London Cares