When I started volunteering for North London Cares, what I expected was to spend a few hours a week chatting to older people in the community over a coffee or tea.
What I have experienced has been the complete opposite. Every social club is filled with laughter, shared interests, and a genuine sense of community that I’d never experienced before. Far from coffee mornings and bingo, in just one year of volunteering for North London Cares I have beat boxed with 4 x UK champion beatboxer, I’ve learnt to Charleston, I’ve performed a poem with other younger and older neighbours at the Barbican Centre, and I’ve attended creative writing classes run by professional author.
I was drawn to North London Cares as feeling lonely and cut off in a city as vast and rapid-changing as London was a feeling that resonated with me. After my friends and I graduated and I moved back to London job-hunting, I found that many of my friends had either gone travelling or moved somewhere cheaper, and for the first time I felt a small glimpse at what loneliness felt like.
The laughter, friendship and incredible conversations I have found at North London Cares lifted my spirits, and I am now delighted to belong to the Cares family as a regular volunteer. Joining the volunteering network at North London Cares hugely built my confidence, and has led to me trying things I never thought I would.
The central ethos of North London Cares is that you can learn and try new things at any stage of life, and no matter whether you’re a beginner or a pro, everyone is welcomed with such warmth.
It always feels strange calling North London Cares ‘volunteering’, as I now see attending the social clubs as simply catching up with friends, and evenings at the clubs always remain the highlight of my week.
Posted by Juliet McNelly on Friday 7th June 2019
Juliet is an Outreach Officer at North London Cares