Though I grew up in Basingstoke, throughout my childhood I regularly visited London as my grandparents live in Barking and my great Aunt lives in Bethnal Green – and I formed even deeper roots when I moved to the city for University, and from now living in both Camden and Islington over the last 5 years.
I discovered North London Cares through my work, which includes finding work experience placements for European students who have received an Erasmus+ Grant. And I knew immediately that this wasn’t just a charity I wanted to suggest students volunteer with, but a charity that I wanted to help support! I know how badly loneliness and isolation can affect older neighbours, but I’ve also learnt that older neighbours can be great fun to hang out with and to talk to as they have so many wonderful stories to share! I visit my Great Auntie Edna weekly, and I love chatting with my North London neighbours at NLC events.
Since May I have been attending social clubs. My favourite is Gizmos and Gadgets, because I feel like a tech wizard whenever I help someone figure out how to use their smartphone, or how to save pictures of their grandchildren to their computer.
I also loved the Dance to Remember Tea-Dance that was held in June, as it was a lovely community party and very fun. I was even taught how to waltz by an older neighbour!
I have decided to take on two long distance runs to fundraise for North London Cares; the Royal Parks Half Marathon in October 2017, and the London Landmarks Half Marathon in March 2018. I have two chronic conditions, fibromyalgia and severe asthma, but I never let them hold me back. In fact, I’ve been running long distance races and taking part in obstacle events for the last seven years. What can I say? I love a challenge!
I hope to raise £750 by March 2018, and this money will go towards helping North London Cares to host their amazing community activities throughout the year.
I am very optimistic about my training and my ability to complete both races, as I have run the Paris marathon and the Hackney Half marathon before, as well as numerous 5K and 10K races. I am currently using the “Zombies, Run!” app to train with, as there’s nothing like hearing approaching zombies in your headphones to make you keep running!
If Avy has inspired you to take on a challenge, then see our forthcoming challenge events here.
Posted by Avy Tennison on Friday 11th August 2017
Avy began volunteering with North London Cares in May 2017. She's a regular at social clubs, has run a few half marathons for the charity, and has been matched with Frank on Love Your Neighbour since September 2017.