If you’re interested in group activities, you can read about our Social Clubs here. If volunteering one-to-one is up your street, find out more about our Love Your Neighbour project here. At the bottom of both pages you’ll find a short sign up form. Once you’ve filled it in, Sasha will be in touch to invite you along to one of our monthly induction evenings. We'll have you meeting up with Barbara and David in no time!
What if I work long or unpredictable hours?
We hear you. This is part of why East London Cares exists – to make it easy for young people with busy lives to feel part of the community by getting to know their older neighbours. If you can spare an hour or two every week, great – Love Your Neighbour might be for you. Otherwise, if things are a bit more unpredictable, you'll be able to jump in and out of our Social Clubs whenever you can spare a few hours during an evening or weekend.
What commitment do I need to make?
East London Cares tries to make volunteering accessible, fun and flexible. We know that people have busy work and social lives – but that shouldn't stop you from feeling part of the community too. So we try to cut as much bureaucracy and time out of our processes as possible so that you can be part of it simply and quickly.
We don't ask that people turn up at the same place week after week. Rather, we're building a pool of volunteers who together can be part of the community in a way that suits them. If you sign up for our Social Clubs you'll be able to come as often or infrequently as you like (although the more you put in, the more you get out). But we will ask that Love Your Neighbour volunteers visit their neighbours at least once a week (at a time that suits you both – we won't dictate that).
What's best for me – the social clubs or Love Your Neighbour?
That depends on you. If you have limited time our programme of regular Social Clubs that you can drop in and out of might be best. That way, you can be flexible with your participation. But if you'd like to build a close one-to-one relationship with a neighbour, and have time to visit them once a week, Love Your Neighbour could be better for you.
Do I have to live in east London?
All our activities and most of our older neighbours are in Hackney and Tower Hamlets. But we appreciate that the city is sprawling – so if you live elsewhere but work nearby and want to hang out with older people near your office, that's totally fine.
Do I need to bring anything?
Not first time round, nope – just bring yourself, an open mind, and your normal chatty demeanour! But if you're a photographer, gardener, historian, comedian, musician or have some other mad skills we'd love to talk to you about how we can use those to create content for our Social Clubs!
What if I know an older neighbour who'd benefit from East London Cares?
Ideally, we'd all know a neighbour who we look out for. But in today's rapidly changing city, some of those community bonds appear to have disappeared. It's no one's fault – it's just the modern world. That's why East London Cares exists – to help connect older people who are often rooted but may have few connections with younger neighbours who may have hundreds of connections but sometimes fewer roots. If you know someone over 65 who could benefit from those friendships and new experiences, please get in touch via our Contact page.
I'm a health/social care professional – can I make a referral to East London Cares?
East London Cares has guidelines on who our volunteers can and can't support. Volunteers are not clinical staff – rather, they are east Londoners who'd like to help people feel more connected and valued. 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, friendship and horizons. We do take referrals from statutory and healthcare services – such as housing associations, GPs, and social care providers – but please be aware that we may need to make our own assessments on whether older neighbours can realistically benefit from our activities. To make a referral to either our Love Your Neighbour or Social Clubs project, fill in the form here.
How do I give money to support East London Cares?
You can be one of the very first donors to support East London Cares directly through a donation – please get in touch through our Contact form for more information.
But I live in a different part of London – can I be part of it too?
Actually, yes! Our sibling charities North London Cares and South London Cares have been going for years. We work closely with the rest of The Cares Family team and they're all superstars. Check them out, and say hi from us if you're in touch!