Head over to our get involved page on the website. Depending on whether you’re over 65 or under 65 there’ll be a sign-up form for you to fill out. Once you’ve signed up a member of our team will be in touch to let you know how it all works and the next steps for getting involved. Soon enough you’ll be grooving away like Indrani, Gill, Laurie and the rest of the neighbours at our Saturday shimmy club or sharing a cuppa with a new older or younger pal.
What commitment do I need to make to volunteer?
East London Cares tries to make volunteering accessible, fun and flexible for our younger neighbours. We know that people have busy lives, juggling various commitments from work, caring responsibilities to socialising so we’ve tried to cut as much bureaucracy and time out of our processes so that you can be part of East London Cares simply and quickly. Our social clubs take place over the phone, over zoom and in person, so you can rock up from the comfort of your sofa or join us in our different locations across Hackney and Tower Hamlets. If you sign up as a social club volunteer, you can come as often or infrequently as you like. However, we do ask that you only book onto social clubs that you can definitely attend. There is a little more commitment for Love Your Neighbour volunteers as we ask that volunteers visit or speak to their older neighbours weekly (although we are really flexible as we want to make sure this friendship works for both the older and younger neighbour).
What's best for me – 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 how you are involved with East London Cares. But if you'd like to build a close one-to-one relationship with a younger or older neighbour, Love Your Neighbour is probably for you. We always recommend that new volunteers start with social clubs to get to know our community and progress to Love Your Neighbour afterwards.
What to expect at a social club and what to bring along?
Our social clubs are free activities that take place both face-to-face and online. They bring older (65+) and younger people from across east London together for fun, laughter, friendship and new experiences. Your role at clubs is simple – to be a friendly face, listening ear, and get stuck into the activity.
You don’t need to bring anything, just an open mind, and a chatty demeanour. But if you're a photographer, gardener, historian, comedian, musician or have some other skills we'd love to talk to you about how we can use those to create content for our social clubs.
I'm a health/social care professional – can I make a referral to East London Cares?
Of course! We welcome referrals from all local partners. However, East London Cares has guidelines on who our volunteers can and can't support. Volunteers are not trained staff – rather, they are east Londoners who'd like to feel more connected to their community and have mutually beneficial friendships with local older neighbours. 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 departments, GP social prescriptions, and mental and social care providers – but please be aware that we may need to make our own assessments on whether our programmes are appropriate and will be beneficial for new neighbours. Before making a referral, please have a read of our Referral guidelines and get in contact with Anna if you have any questions. To make a referral to East London Cares, head over to our get involved page.
How are you ensuring your programmes are safe?
The safety, comfort and wellbeing of our neighbours is our first priority at East London Cares. We will have Covid-19 safety measures – in line with government guidance and scientific advice – in place at our Social Clubs and on our other programmes. These include wearing a mask or visor when appropriate and washing your hands regularly with hand sanitiser provided. Since guidelines are subject to change and all our programmes are a bit different, each programme will provide you with more specific guidance when you take part. If you ever have any questions about this guidance, please get in touch with our team. We also ask you to follow NHS Test & Trace protocols and update us if you test positive for coronavirus (Covid-19) or develop coronavirus (Covid-19) symptoms after coming to a social club, completing a Love Your Neighbour visit or attending an Outreach event.
What if I know an older neighbour who'd benefit from East London Cares?
Back in the day, we all knew a neighbour who we looked out for. But in today's rapidly changing city some of those community bonds appear to have disappeared. That's why we exist – to help connect older people who are often rooted in east London but may have few connections with those younger neighbours who have more connections but sometimes fewer roots. If you know an older neighbour who would like to be involved or know more about what we do, you can share our number 0207 118 4949 (option 3), make a referral on their behalf or contact us and our Outreach Coordinator Anna will get back to you.
How do I give money to support East London Cares?
This network is part-funded by you, our supporters, and we'd love you to make a donation to support our work, or to fundraise for us through a challenge or activity whether that’s hosting your own quiz or a pop-up event. There are loads of ways you can support East London Cares so please visit our fundraising page.