I’m writing my post a little later than usual this week so apologies for that. Yesterday I spent the whole day lying down on the sofa tucked under a blanket as I didn’t feel well and had a swollen knee. Knee injury caused by pushing myself a little too far at the gym on Friday morning. I did this class called ‘Cardio Shred’, cardio DEAD more like! This knee has always been a bit dodgy after I smacked it in a car accident when I was a child (it’s a long story and everyone was okay in the end so don’t worry!).
Anyway, I was thinking of writing a post about getting back into the gym after Christmas and trying to eat healthily blah blah blah…
But everyone is talking about it all over the ‘social medias’ so I thought nah, let’s chat about something different!
So I wanted to tell you about something I’m super excited about that you may have seen me mention on Instagram a little bit.
Last September I did some volunteering through work where me and around 10 others went to Brixton Soup Kitchen one Friday to help them cook, raise money etc. It’s a wonderful charity helping a lot of homeless people around the Brixton area. They have an instagram account called ‘brixtonsoupkitchen’ where you can follow all the amazing things they do.
After that truly insightful day I was really inspired to do lots more volunteering. I went home and researched lots of charities, emailed people and waited to hear back on whether they needed new volunteers. Unfortunately every charity/organisation came back to me saying they’re not looking for new volunteers or if they are they need someone who can help during the working week in the day time, which is when I would be at work. A lot of the charities didn’t need new volunteers which after all is the most important thing.
Then a couple of months later, I was doing some more research and eventually came across North London Cares. A charity that helps older people in the local community and matches them with young people in the same community. They host social events in community centres that bring people together during the week, in the evenings and at the weekends. They have hosted dance classes, book clubs, tours round Parliament and even a beat boxing class! Hilarious right! They are mainly based in Camden, Hampstead and Islington and they do have a sister charity called South London cares if you are interested in joining. I got in contact with them and they were so friendly and welcoming to new volunteers even those who could only help once a month on the weekend.
After getting in touch with them they invited me to their induction evening last week. They went through everything they do as a charity and all the different ways we can get involved. We met with all the other new volunteers that evening as well and got given free pizza, always a good night where pizza is involved!
We all discussed the different ways getting involved will fit into our life. For me I definitely want to attend the social events and meet people there but also I’m going to join up to their scheme called ‘Love Your Neighbour’. Which is where they match you (after you fill in a form about your availability, location and interests) with an older person in your local area. Once I have my match (it can take a few months as they want to make sure it’s right), I’ll then meet with my older neighbour once a week for about an hour. I’ll go round their house and drink tea, eat biscuits and chat – sounds great fun! The first few visits will be with an organiser present as it’s a bit strange just turning up to a strangers house saying ‘hiya! I’m your match!’.
The reason I just love this charity is that it recognises that not only are older people lonely in London but young people are too.
I moved to London when I was 18 years old, lived on my own for a year and went to college. I met some of my closest friends now at that college but for the most part I was really on my own and lonely.
I came from the countryside in Norfolk where everyone there is super friendly and happy so to grow up in that atmosphere and then come to London on my own where everyone looks so miserable and grumpy all the time; it’s rather daunting.
London is a really hard city to live in and can feel quite lonely at times no matter how old you are, where you live or what your lifestyle is like. There is not a enough done in our local areas to bring people together. Everyone talks about how hard it is to date in London and find a partner but it’s also hard to even make friends! You can’t smile at people on the tube or on the street as they’ll think you’re either drunk or recently escaped from an institution.
I have now lived in my local area in North London for about 6 years and I still don’t know a soul here. Most of my friends live South and my boyfriend and I live in our own bubble in North London (which is quite nice sometimes).
I wish I’d found North London Cares when I first moved to London, it would have helped me so much and probably saved me so much money than me paying to go back to Norfolk on the train most weekends as I couldn’t face a whole weekend on my own in my little studio flat.
So if you’re recently new to London or you’ve lived here a while and are finding it difficult and lonely then please get in touch and we can chat about how to live in London when you’re not born a ‘Londoner’. If you want to know more on North London cares then let me know or you can visit their website (link below). I’ll keep you updated through Instagram and my blog on how I’m getting on with the charity, the things I’ve been up to and of course when I find out I’ve got a match!
Lots of love to everyone no matter where you are and remember, we’re never truly on our own, we just need to open our eyes to the people all around us.
A selfie taken at the induction evening of me and some other new volunteers, all excited about getting involved (also for the pizza that was due any second).