Our younger neighbours bring so much to our community network, so in this month's blog we shine a spotlight on some star volunteers from across our programmes. We chatted to Matt (32), Jaimie (28) and Jenny (36) about what getting involved in Social Clubs, Love Your Neighbour and Fundraising means to them, and why they’d recommend volunteering with Manchester Cares to their friends.
Matt takes part in both our Social Clubs and our Love Your Neighbour programme, where he regularly visits and chats to his pal Leo (86). He told us he enjoys our pub quizzes as “it’s nice to chat and have some friendly competition” and he’s pictured here looking victorious as part of winning team The Chatterboxes at our recent quiz at the Carlton Club in Whalley Range. Matt has joined us at 13 Social Clubs so far - we asked him what he gains from connecting with older neighbours.
"My favourite Social Club was a wine tasting at Erst in Ancoats a few years ago. We had a wine expert and a range of wines that were paired with some snacks. It was great to learn about the different flavours and we all enjoyed it.
Social Clubs are a great way to meet and socialise with older neighbours and hear about their lives and interesting stories. For me, being able to speak with a wide range of people is really rewarding and for many people who perhaps don't have grandparents or older family members in their lives, it's a great way to feel connected with the older generation. My partner Katie joined after I told her how much I enjoyed it.
For me, Manchester Cares is an organisation with a big heart and a place where people can laugh, share stories and spend time together. It's a great place to meet people of a wide range of ages and experiences."
Click here for the full list of the in-person and Virtual Social Clubs we’ve got coming up this month.
Jaimie first heard about Manchester Cares when she saw a post on Instagram about our one-to-one friendship programme, Love Your Neighbour. She told us: “I joined just before COVID-19 hit, but felt even more impelled to get involved once it did, as the thought of so many people in isolation worried me. I was also very close with my grandparents, all of whom are no longer around. I had such strong relationships with them where age didn’t really matter, so was keen to sign up to volunteer once I found out about the work Manchester Cares does.”
Jaimie was matched with older neighbour Edith (90) in June, and they have had nine chats over the phone - and lots of giggles - so far. Jaimie has found plenty of common ground with Edith, as well as enjoying connecting with someone different from herself.
“Edith and I have different backgrounds which makes for really interesting conversations and goes to show you can really connect with so many different people. We both love to discuss and hear other points or views, so we end up having quite in-depth chats. Except for the football and having a sweet tooth, we see eye to eye on those.”
Alongside weekly calls with Edith, Jaimie has tried out a few of our Social Clubs, including virtual Desert Island Discs, where neighbours share songs that mean something to them, and have a chat and a boogie.
Like Matt, Jaimie has played an important part in growing our network of younger neighbours by spreading the word about Manchester Cares among her friends, including Jake, who recently completed his online induction, and is now ready to volunteer with us! Jaimie gave us this message for anyone who’s thinking of signing up:
“I think a lot of people want to be able to do some good. I’d say the worries that people have which might mean they hesitate are all misconceptions on what [older people] are like. So when I mention the more informal clubs - especially Ged’s Pub Quizzes - they feel more relaxed to sign up. People should get involved because these clubs are genuinely fun!”
If each one of our younger neighbours encouraged one or two friends to sign up to volunteer with us, we would massively increase our impact. We’re always looking for younger neighbours across the whole of Manchester, but currently we have older neighbours waiting to be introduced to a new pal in Moss Side, Longsight, Ardwick, and across North Manchester.
We couldn’t run our Social Clubs or introduce new friends on Love Your Neighbour without our donors and supporters, many of whom are younger neighbours. In 2020, we had over 220 donors and supporters, who contributed in a variety of ways: by setting up a regular donation, getting active and fundraising at our challenge events, or donating to our Crowdfunder campaigns. Our summer Emergency COVID-19 Appeal and Big Give Christmas Challenge in 2020 helped us raise over £20,000, showing just how strong, generous and supportive our community is.
Younger neighbour Jenny completed the Peak District challenge in July 2021. She told us “I signed up for the Peak District Challenge on an optimistic ‘get fit’ whim in Spring, and thought what better than to run/jog/hike/hobble it raising money for the fabulous Manchester Cares? Despite the rain I had a fantastic day, and was delighted that I achieved my goal of making it home for the England game!”
We asked Jenny how she’d describe Manchester Cares and she summed us up in three words: compassionate, fun, supportive.
If, like Jenny, you want to get fit and challenge yourself, all while raising money for your Manchester Cares community, we’d love to have you on board. We are eagerly looking for volunteers to take part in the Great Manchester Run in September, and the Manchester Marathon and Half Marathon in October, for which we’re offering discounted entries.
Volunteers are at the heart of what we do, and we couldn't achieve our impact and build connections in our communities without you. We'd like to thank all our existing volunteers for the time, energy and joy you bring to our programmes, and for spreading the word and helping us to expand our network.
We are always looking for new volunteers to join us. If you like the sound of our Social Clubs or Love Your Neighbour programme, click here to sign up to volunteer with us, or contact Amy on [email protected] to find out how to join our next volunteer induction.
Posted by Izzy Zimšek on Tuesday 10th August 2021
Love Your Neighbour Programme Coordinator