Our story, 2019-2023

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Our founder Alex met isolated older neighbour Fred in Islington and took him for his first haircut in three months, inspiring the idea for our first sibling charity, North London Cares. Watch the video of our founding story >>



North London Cares opened spontaneously in August 2011 amid rioting by mobilising young people to assist with the cleanup. Within hours 5,000 people had visited our website and Mayor of London had tweeted to thank us for our role in the post-riots narrative.



Our sibling charity South London Cares opened in Southwark and Lambeth. South London Cares had the same model as North London Cares, mobilising younger volunteers to connect with their older neighbours below the river in Southwark and Lambeth. Check out how South London Cares evolved between 2014 and 2023.


North London Cares featured in BBC1's Inside Out documentary, with our social clubs and Love Your Neighbour programmes highlighted. Watch the documentary here >>



In 2011, North London Cares was one charity working across two boroughs. By 2017, we had grown to three charities. South London Cares had been operating for three years, and Manchester Cares had just thrown open its doors and invited older and younger Mancunians to spend time with one another. What started as a ripple was becoming a wave of connection gathering pace across the country. In 2018, we opened Liverpool Cares.



And in 2019, East London Cares joined the family – to tackle isolation and loneliness and connect younger and older neighbours across Hackney and Tower Hamlets. That’s how The Cares Family is a family in more than a name – it’s a place for people to belong, and to feel ‘part of something bigger'.

Ghost Signs Club Sep 21 1


2020 changed how we interact with our communities more rapidly than ever before. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing social isolation brought new challenges to our model. But, just as our community stepped up to help one another out nearly a decade before in the wake of the riots, neighbours came to each other's aid again to help each other stay connected – online, on the phone and in the community, albeit not face-to-face. That's how, in 2020 and 2021, The Cares Family worked with more people than ever before.

The Cares Family


In 2023, The Cares Family turned 12 years old. We had helped drive a major shift in how the UK – and the world – see loneliness. More younger and older people were ready to talk about their sense of disconnection and loneliness. And our programmes helped them find their way back to connection with new communities. More than that, through The Cares Family group, we were able to inspire a movement of changemakers – from Cardiff to Coventy, Bristol to Birmingham, Aberdeen to Aberystwyth; and in Australia, South Korea, Tanzania, the United States, Germany and beyond.


In November 2023, East London Cares and The Cares Family board made a decision to close due to difficulty fundraising. East London Cares and The Cares Family may no longer be operational, but the ripple effect of our work continues to flow across the country and around the world. Find out more about our legacy vision at www.thecaresfamily.org.uk.