Our Love Your Neighbour face-to-face programme switched to phone friendships back in March 2020, so some of the new friendships formed from a distance have now been going strong for a whole year or more. Neighbours Gloria (70) and Rheanne (29) reached their first friendship anniversary today; both were pleasantly surprised to realise they’d known each other for a year already, with Gloria saying “Oh wow, I can’t believe it!” They’ve both been part of the Manchester Cares family for a while now, joining in with our Social Clubs a fair few times between them. Love Your Neighbour was their chance to connect on a one-to-one level: they’ve chatted about current affairs, their families and friends, and very importantly, their shared love of food (BBQ fish is a favourite). They’re both really enjoying their chats on the phone, and are considering meeting up further down the line.
We caught up with Gloria and Rheanne and asked them to tell us a bit about their experiences on the programme, and what they’ve gained from being connected to each other.
What do you chat about during your weekly calls?
Rheanne: “We chat about a bit of everything - the current situation, COVID. Over the summer we spoke a lot about Black Lives Matter - what it was like for her growing up and what it’s like now.”
Gloria: “We’ve been talking about the virus and the lockdown and everything being in a mess, shopping, talking about how one day we’ll get to meet, holidays. Rheanne talks about her work.”
What has been the most positive aspect of being part of Love Your Neighbour?
Rheanne: “Helping and connecting with Gloria. During the pandemic a lot of [older] people have become isolated. Being able to speak to her and her to me - it’s been positive both ways.”
“Having someone in Manchester who’s like an [older] figure - I’m from Birmingham. She’s from Jamaica so [we share] a lot about the heritage… For me a big part of it is connecting with someone who’s from the same heritage as me.”
Gloria: “I enjoy it when she rings, we talk just as if you’re seeing the person face-to-face, we have a good laugh, you’re just connected to the person. It’s like no stranger.”
How do you feel about the Love Your Neighbour programme?
Gloria: “[It’s provided me with] good friendship, talking, she asks me how I’m getting on and things like that, all these little things like if I’ve been to the shop.”
Rheanne: “It’s a good programme, it has a lot of value for the older and younger people involved. It’s great for people’s mental health and a bit of motivation, always having someone they can call. I think it should be done more widely.”
Happy friendship anniversary, Gloria and Rheanne!
If you’d like to get to know one of your older neighbours and find out what you might have in common, you can sign up for our Love Your Neighbour programme here
Posted by Izzy Zimšek on Wednesday 9th June 2021
Love Your Neighbour Programme Coordinator