North London Cares turns 10 years old this month. To mark our birthday, we're marking some of the moments that made this community over the last decade.
We opened our doors spontaneously amid rioting in August 2011, because we saw that the fast pace of change in our city could leave both older and younger neighbours feeling left out or left behind. But we also believed in the power of local action: that by helping people share time and new experiences, we could all move forward, together.
By our first autumn, we already had a growing network of 175 volunteers sharing time with their older neighbours. But our volunteers wanted to do more to support the community. So over winter, we asked them to get involved in what would become our Winter Wellbeing project, running through to March 2012. Winter is a tough time of year for older and younger people alike, but by connecting on doorsteps and later in warm community halls, the generations came together.
In 2013 we started running social clubs twice a week — providing a space for older and younger neighbours to laugh together, learn together and establish friendships with one another.
Between 2013 and 2014, those friends met up at 266 social clubs across Camden and Islington and enjoyed well over 12,000 interactions together. Our model of bringing the generations together was working.
North London Cares began 10 years ago as a tiny idea in a single place. But by 2015 it had grown into a bigger movement. We were delivering four distinct programmes to bring our community together – Social Clubs, Love Your Neighbour, Outreach and Community Fundraising, all of which helped younger and older people alike to feel valued, vibrant and visible. We had also welcomed a sister charity, South London Cares, to the family.
In 2011 when we first started, we had no money to fund our mission at all. By 2018, 40% of North London Cares’ budget was funded by you – the community. Through sporting challenges, community events, individual donations, business partnerships and online campaigns, hundreds of north Londoners were helping to fund the community they love.
You can celebrate with us!
This month we are hosting ten in-person social clubs, the most we have run in a month since the beginning of the pandemic. From intergenerational boxing, open mic sessions to Art Attack, we cannot wait to welcome our neighbours once again to their local space and share time, laughter and new experiences together.
Want to join in? Sign up to volunteer.
If volunteering isn't for you, there is another way you can celebrate. On 10th September we are taking part in the Thames Moonlight 10 Walk. Take on either a spirited 10 km or an energetic 10-mile looped route through the heart of London as darkness falls. Fundraise what you wish, though if you raise £100 we will send you a North London Cares branded t-shirt. Find out more here.
We are so proud of everything our community has achieved, both in north London and across the country and over the past ten years we have learnt that North London Cares is a family in more than name:
It’s a place for people to belong, and to feel ‘part of something bigger.
Thank you for being on this journey with us.
Posted by Imogen Duffin on Tuesday 3rd August 2021