If you asked me what outreach looks like on a normal day, I’d probably say “Can we catch up later?”, as I’d be heading out the door to a supermarket in Camden with some social clubs flyers, then straight off to Highbury for some door knocking, popping into a few libraries on the way to drop off some Social Clubs programmes. Outreach has always been very proactive at North London Cares, with our Winter Wellbeing project being the perfect example of that - we go where people are and strike up conversations with older neighbours passing by, introducing them to our programmes and the wider community. When our face-to-face programmes were suspended we knew we had to do things a little differently, here is what outreach looks like for us during lockdown:
Every week the team calls to check in on over 100 of the most vulnerable older neighbours in our network. In the last eight weeks we have made 670 calls, and spoken about everything from starting garden photography projects, to how to access food and emergency supplies.
Our new referral form is live, and is now essential in helping us reach people who are new to North London Cares. If you or someone you know is over 65, lives in Camden or Islington and wants to connect with their younger and older neighbours, then please click the button below to fill in our referral form.
Taking part in social activities can often take a backseat when someone is dealing with other issues - that’s why signposting, making referrals and keeping the most up-to-date information to support older neighbours has always been an important part of our outreach programme. During the current crisis this has become essential, as services across the country are rapidly changing to meet the needs of vulnerable people.
Since lockdown measures began, we have made 190 interventions for further help for 123 older neighbours, including help accessing mental health support, food and shopping, 1-2-1 tech support, arranging medicine deliveries, as well as introducing them to North London Cares #AloneTogether activities, Social Clubs at Home and Phone a Friend programmes.
We value working with other charities and organisations doing amazing work, in order to support older neighbours across Camden and Islington in the best way possible. Last week we turned to community partners, GoodGym, for help with shopping for 72 year old Robert - we loved reading Beth's report on how the Mission went!
People working in the community have been supporting our work by referring older neighbours to our programmes, offering free training to our team and volunteer network, publishing our information in directories and mail outs, donating to our Crowdfunder and keeping us updated on their services. We’re always keen to hear from community partners, so if you work or volunteer for an organisation, charity or group offering services for people over 65 in Camden and Islington, or you’d like to be added to our community partner mailing list, please get in touch.
Posted by Roxi Rustem on Thursday 7th May 2020
Roxi is North London Cares' Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator