Meet our volunteers

Alex - Swiss Cottage


"I think that community is extremely important in any big city. The pace of life in a city like London is fast and it's too easy for certain groups of people to be passed over, which is something that I find sad. The idea of being part of a support network for older neighbours was something that appealed strongly. It seemed to me that even a small investment of time volunteering for North London Cares could make a difference to individuals in the area and to the community as a whole.

Volunteering has given me a great sense of satisfaction. I get to see first hand the impact that my contribution makes. Moreover, it is great to get to know new people in your area. I’m an Organiser and hold a monthly book club in Swiss Cottage. I have had some great experiences and have met some brilliant people – neighbours and volunteers alike. Everyone has a story to tell, and it's great fun to sit down and listen to them. In return I hope that I've at the very least brightened up a few people's afternoons.

What is nice about North London Cares is that there is a huge range of events going on which support people in the community in a variety of ways. Even if you can only contribute an hour or two every now and then, you know that that hour has been spent making someone's day a bit happier."

Mike - Finsbury Park


"You get involved in charity to do something good, right? To selflessly offer your time to benefit others less fortunate. It’s important to get something out of it yourself, though. No point turning up to something every week that you dread going to or resent the time spent there.

The first time I heard about North London Cares was in a text message from a mate who’d been to one or two of the film evenings. 'This is definitely something you should do. A great charity.' It was exactly up my street – both figuratively and physically – as they match you with an isolated person that lives in close proximity to you. The time requirements also seemed ideal for me: once a week at a mutually agreeable time and day.

I imagine it’s quite a big deal for an elderly lady, alone and cut-off, to accept a young scruffy bearded man into her home for 'a chat' every week and our meet-ups to now had mainly been about just offering a listening ear.

Meeting up with Mitzi, however, has definitely become more of a two-way street than I'd imagined before. While I hope I’ve eased some anxieties and minimised some of the isolation she previously felt, she has provided me with support that I would expect of my close friends. When changes came in my professional life, including two new job roles and the stresses that come with that process, Mitzi showed an express interest through interviews to resignations and first day nerves.

The advice and support that now goes both ways is testament to how beneficial this partnership has grown to be."

Harriet - Muswell Hill


"At the Social Clubs, I saw older people who had become cut off from the places they’d lived for years invigorated by interacting with younger people. Talking about parts of London that they had known for decades, and having someone to listen, gave them dignity and companionship. Equally, the young volunteers got so much from spending time with the older people, particularly those that had moved to London from other parts of the country and were away from family.

What I saw working with North London Cares was the creation of a community, in a way that’s missing from modern city life. People were meeting their neighbours, feeling part of a mutually supportive network and consequently reconnecting to their local area. What makes it so successful is the simplicity of the idea at its heart; bringing people together over a cup of tea or a movie.

However it’s the huge impact it has on the participants’ lives, in spite of the modest way it works, that I found so inspiring."

Emma - Holloway

"Originally I’m from Newcastle and it could have been easy to feel disconnected from the community when I moved to London. I found out about North London Cares by chance, online.

One of my favourite experiences was helping at the technology club in Camden. With a small amount of help the older people gained a lot of enjoyment and skill. It was a massive buzz being able to watch them use iPads, tablets etc. more easily. You really felt like you’d helped give them access to something new.

Volunteering made me feel more connected and stopped the move to London being a lonely experience. My confidence in working with older people and participating in my community has definitely increased."

Shona


"Through the Friday Film Clubs, I have heard so many stories about London; rich, textured stories that often have to do with members’ memories of Camden and Islington; stories that tell how the area has changed, while in some ways remaining the same. As I listened, it became clear that everyone has their own story to tell about this area. I now feel like I can better appreciate how people attach meaning to north London in such diverse ways.

If you are thinking of volunteering with North London Cares: do it! There are such amazing events planned and you’re bound to have a great time."

View all of our supporters North London Cares is partnered with...

Living in Southwark or Lambeth? Check out our sister charity South London Cares