Our story, 2011-2023



Our founder Alex met isolated older neighbour Fred in Islington and took him for his first haircut in three months, inspiring the idea for North London Cares. Watch the video of our founding story >>



North London Cares opened spontaneously in August 2011 amid rioting by mobilising young people to assist with the cleanup. Within hours 5,000 people had visited our website and Mayor of London had tweeted to thank us for our role in the post-riots narrative.



North London Cares began our first ever Winter Wellbeing project, mobilising young people to help their older neighbours stay warm, active, healthy and connected. 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.



We started running regular social clubs twice weekly – providing a space for older and younger neighbours to laugh together, learn together and establish friendships with one another. Many of the regular clubs that began in 2013 ran through until 2023.



Our sibling charity South London Cares opened in Southwark and Lambeth. South London Cares had the same model as North London Cares, mobilising younger neighbours to connect with their older neighbours in Southwark and Lambeth. Check out how South London Cares evolved between 2014 and 2023.



North London Cares featured in BBC1's Inside Out documentary, with our social clubs and Love Your Neighbour programmes highlighted. Watch the documentary here >>



Our Community Fundraising programme was created so that, as well as raising money, older and younger neighbours had the opportunity to lead North London Cares, to share time and friendship, and to show that when people work together, they can share power and a sense of belonging. In 2011, when we first started, we had no money to fund our mission at all. By 2019, 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 loved.



Combined with sibling charity South London Cares, our community grew to 4,000 younger people and 4,000 older people hanging out and helping one another by the end of 2016.

The Cares Family


In 2011, North London Cares was one charity working across two boroughs in north London. By 2017, we had grown to three charities. South London Cares had been operating for three years, and Manchester Cares had just thrown open its doors and invited older and younger Mancunians to spend time with one another. What started as a ripple was becoming a wave of connection gathering pace across the country. In 2018, we opened Liverpool Cares. And in 2019, East London Cares joined the family too. That’s how The Cares Family is a family in more than a name – it’s a place for people to belong, and to feel ‘part of something bigger'.



By 2018, 5,500 older and younger north Londoners were sharing time, laughter and friendship with one another through North London Cares. Our family had grown to different cities in the UK, and the impact our older and younger neighbours were making in each other's lives was being felt further afield too. This film was shared by The Obama Foundation in 2018 – telling the story of how The Cares Family was inspiring more and more people to come together to reduce loneliness and build connection and community.



2020 changed how we interact with our communities more rapidly than ever before. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing social isolation brought new challenges to our model. But, just as our community stepped up to help one another out nearly a decade before in the wake of the riots, neighbours came to each other's aid again to help each other stay connected – online, on the phone and in the community, albeit not face-to-face. That's how, in 2020 and 2021, we worked with more people than ever before.



North London Cares celebrated our 10th birthday! Thank you, north London, for showing there is power in community, and for being an example of what's possible.

Sarah And Marion


In 2023, North London Cares and The Cares Family turned 12 years old. We had helped drive a major shift in how the UK – and the world – see loneliness. More younger and older people were ready to talk about their sense of disconnection and loneliness. And our programmes helped them find their way back to connection with new communities. More than that, through The Cares Family group, we were able to inspire a movement of changemakers – from Cardiff to Coventy, Bristol to Birmingham, Aberdeen to Aberystwyth; and in Australia, South Korea, Tanzania, the United States, Germany and beyond.

The Cares Family


In November 2023, North London Cares and The Cares Family board made a decision to close due to difficulty fundraising. North London Cares and The Cares Family may no longer be operational, but the ripple effect of our work continues to flow across the country and around the world. Find out more about our legacy vision at www.thecaresfamily.org.uk.