Summerleigh first got involved with Manchester Cares back in August 2018, and since then has supported the network in more ways than one! From her friendship with Gloria as part of our Love Your Neighbour programme, to supporting the network by rallying her workplace together, and helping our outreach team to deliver warm items to older neighbours in Hulme and Longsight, there has been no end to her warmth and generosity. We interviewed Summer to find out what she’s enjoyed and gained from being part of the network.
Tell us about yourself...
I’m Summerleigh, 25, Staff Trainer at Albert's Schoss and into yoga, reading, exercise, playing and watching football, and spending time with friends and family.
What do you and your Love Your Neighbour match, Gloria, get up to when you visit?
Gloria and I have built a really special friendship over the past 4 months. We have so much in common; sharing a taste in music and films, we both love to cook and have a love for life and laughter (something we do alot of together). We love to try new things, so little trips out to Chorlton and town to try new food is our favourite pastime. That being said, we've enjoyed getting comfy in front of the TV, ordering food to the house and just hanging out - we tend to just go with the flow!
You can watch Gloria and Summer sharing their story on BBC1’s Sport Relief: The Final Score here. Skip to 53:45 to spot more of our older neighbours and volunteers too at our 1st Birthday Party.
You not only volunteer as part of Love Your Neighbour but you also donated an incredible amount as part of our Double Your Donation campaign, donating all of your tips from a weekend’s work, and encouraging your colleagues to do the same. What motivated you to donate and how did your colleagues react?
The campaign was a great opportunity to maximise the impact of a fundraising idea I'd had in mind since signing up for Manchester Cares. I'm lucky to work in an industry where people can be very generous, so I just saw it as 'paying the generosity forward’. It's such a worth cause, how could I not?!
My colleagues were so kind and generous as well – we have an amazing team at Schloss which was demonstrated by their donations and participation in the BBC filming day with Gloria.
If you’d like to get involved with supporting our network through fundraising, there are so many ways you can do so. From a Tough Mudder to a cake sale, there’s something to suit everyone, and we are always inspired by your creativity and ideas. Check out our challenges here and get in touch with Alex if you have any questions.
Following your donation, you helped to deliver blankets and warm items (which your money went towards!) to older neighbours from Hulme and Longsight. What was it like to meet, chat to and support those individuals?
The team at Manchester Cares kindly allowed me to be involved in the hands-on aspect of Winter Wellbeing as well, which was really cool and rewarding. It's very humbling and fuelling to see first-hand the impact of the money raised. The neighbours we met were all wonderful in their own ways and it was the perfect way to spend the afternoon chatting and helping where we could it really hits home when you put stories to faces. It opened my eyes to how great this charity is and the importance of the work they're doing.
Finally, you and Gloria are always laughing together, so can you give us your best riddle or joke?
A joke or a riddle? I accept your challenge and give you both haha....
I can be cracked, I can be made, I can be told, I can be played... What am I?
At Manchester Cares, Volunteers are a key part of our Community Network and we are so grateful for the time, skills, knowledge and love that they bring to the network. If you have been inspired by Summerleigh, please head to our Sign Up page to meet neighbours, like Gloria, who would love to meet and spend time with you.
Posted by Summerleigh Watson on Tuesday 29th January 2019
Staff Trainer at Albert's Schloss and Volunteer with Manchester Cares