I discovered North London Cares at a time when I was feeling pretty lost and unsure what I wanted to do with my life. I had been working in the media and events world, and whilst I’d had a lot of fun, I was quite unhappy. I knew I wanted something more meaningful but I had no idea where to start.
I stumbled apon North London Cares after a quick Google search, and they instantly stood out for me. Not only because I’m a born and raised North Londoner, but the idea of connecting older and younger people, both who can sometimes feel so disconnected and lonely, really sounded like a fantastic idea. I had seen befriending services and groups before, but never something like North London Cares, with such well thought out regular social clubs as well. It seemed like a very mutually beneficial and genuinely caring charity, and after a quick induction evening I was warmly welcomed.
Fast forward to two years later and I am proud to call North London Cares my family. I’ve inherited new friends and had many memorable, often hilarious experiences to date. Burlesque with all the ladies at the Drovers community centre is especially one I will never forget! I’ve also taken part in gardening, cinema trips, watching live classical music, pub trips, games nights and dances with my older neighbours.
My regular club throughout the years has been Men’s Cooking. This is probably surprising considering I’m not a male or a very good cook, but every week we still manage to pull something delicious together and enjoy a good catch up between mouthfuls. The guys have become real friends to me and we’re always learning something from each other. Paul, the romantic, gave me excellent dating advice and even taught me how to waltz, just in case a wedding dance might be on the cards! Ali has taught us how to cook pasta from scratch and he teaches me Italian words and phrases as we’re cooking. Chris keeps us all up to date with the latest film and TV knowledge, Tom entertains us with his opinions and gets the debates going and Victor makes sure we’ll all have something edible to eat after all. They also enjoy my tales of all the different jobs I’ve been trying and what trips or adventures I’m planning
Volunteering with North London Cares has also, amazingly, helped me find my dream career. I’m now retraining as an occupational therapist after discovering how important activities and occupations are to us all as individuals. My experiences and my conversations with older neighbours and fellow volunteers have had such a positive influence on my life; I’m very grateful I took the plunge and joined team North London Cares!
Posted by Nicola Jackson on Tuesday 13th June 2017
Nichola is one of North London Cares' volunteers and attends Social Clubs regularly.