East London Cares is still in its infancy, and we won't be running activities until autumn 2019. But if you're patient you can still sign up to get involved by clicking on the "Sign up to be part of it" link at the bottom of the home page.
What if I work long or unpredictable hours?
We hear you. This is part of why East London Cares is being developed – 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 will try to make being part of the community 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'll 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 won't ask that people turn up at the same place week after week. Rather, we'll build 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'll depend 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 will be 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 will not be operational until autumn 2019. When we are open, we'll have clear guidelines on who our volunteers can and can't support. Our volunteers will not be clinical staff – they are east Londoners who'd like to help people feel more connected. We say that our model, and our amazing volunteers, will not make life liveable (feeding, clothing or washing people); rather they will make life worth living with new opportunities, friendship and horizons. We will take referrals from statutory and healthcare services – such as housing departments, GP social prescriptions, and mental and social care providers – but please be aware that we will often need to make our own assessments on whether neighbours can realistically benefit from our activities.
How do I give money to support East London Cares?
East London Cares will soon begin exciting and inclusive fundraising activities all across the city to help us support the network. In the meantime you can still 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!