Welcome to Manchester Cares. As a small organisation tackling some big challenges, we’re always inspired to see new people joining our growing network and keen to and hang out with and help their older neighbours across Manchester. We’re very pleased to have you on board and look forward to getting to know you in the coming weeks and months.
Manchester Cares is a community network of younger and older neighbours hanging out and offering each other social connection and friendship.
We focus on recruiting young professional volunteers because many people have busy work and social lives and want to be more involved in their local community, but find it difficult to do so.
For that reason we try to make our programmes as accessible as possible. Many of our activities occur during evenings and weekends, and we do not require you to commit to volunteering for weeks at a time unless you want to. We’ve also eliminated a lot of the paperwork, so we don’t require you to be DBS checked unless you want to support an individual through our Love Your Neighbour. This means you can get involved straight away!
In turn, we ask our volunteers to stay in contact with Manchester Cares staff by phone or email, so that when we are planning activities and interactions we can make them the very best they can be – and to ensure they are always improving the lives of our older neighbours. We also ask our volunteers to talk to us regularly so that we can build a genuine social network flexible to changing needs.
That means we can be agile to your needs and the needs of our older neighbours over time – but once you’ve committed to an activity, we’ll expect you to be there.
Our social clubs are free group activities that take place throughout the month. They offer older and younger neighbours the chance to share time, laughter and new experiences in locations across Manchester.
Our social clubs programme is deliberately varied: both in when the events take place (the majority are at evenings and weekends, with a handful of social clubs on weekdays) and in the types of activities we organise. Our social club activities include clubs like:
You can see all of the social clubs we have planned for this month here.
Tips to get the most out of social clubs
This varies from club to club. Some of our social clubs are deliberately smaller to attract your less outgoing older neighbours, while others – like our annual birthday celebrations – will have lots of people chatting, laughing and dancing away. But typically there are between 10-15 people for you to get to know at our social clubs.
Your main responsibility is to chat with your older neighbours! At every social club there is a Manchester Cares staff member who may ask you to help make tea or welcome people as they arrive, but we like to stress that the real value for all participants is in the interactions you’ll have, the conversations you’ll enjoy, and the benefit everyone gains from those connections.
The activities are there to attract people along, but the point of a quiz night, for example, is not to win – as with all our activities, it’s way of getting people chatting, letting loose and feeling part of a community.
Just yourself and your best conversation starters!
Once you’ve been to one of our volunteer inductions, each month (around the 20th) you'll receive an email from us with a link to all of our Social Clubs that month. You simply need to sign up to which you want to come along to, and we'll then follow up with the address and any further details.
Places for social clubs are allocated on a first come, first served basis, and some of the events fill up quickly, so do sign up as quick as you can.
It’s also worth noting that our emails often end up in junk – we’re working on it – so please do check your junk folder if you haven’t heard from us.
If a friend or relative wants to volunteer, they’ll need to attend a volunteer induction before joining you at a social club. They can sign up here.
If they’re over 65, please ask their permission to pass on their contact details, and we’ll give them a call, tell them more about Manchester Cares, and encourage them to sign up to some social clubs.
We take lots of pictures at our social clubs. We share the images on social media and occasionally use them in our leaflets to showcase the joy of interacting with neighbours of different ages.
If you don’t want your photo taken, please speak to the member of staff present at the beginning of the social club you’re attending,
If an older neighbour asks if you can walk home with them, that’s a lovely sign that they’ve been enjoying your company, but please don’t feel any pressure to do so. Feel free to politely decline or explain that you need to head to another engagement. If it’s not out of your way and you’re happy to walk home with them, let the Manchester Cares team member leading the social club know that you’re planning on doing this, and once you’ve ambled back with them, please don’t go inside their home – even if it means declining a good cuppa.
Fundraising is a great way to make a difference to your older neighbours when you are struggling to find the time to join our social clubs. From taking on a challenge, to setting up a monthly donation, to joining one of our events – there’s dozens of creative ways you can support your older neighbours, at times that will work with your schedule.
Head to the Fundraising section of this handbook for more information.
Whether you’re a yoga teacher, musician, photographer, jive expert or craft extraordinaire, we’d love to hear from you if you have skills you’d like to share at a social club. Our volunteers’ skills and generosity help us to keep our programme diverse. Get in touch with Lauren ([email protected]) if you’d like to lead a session.
If you have any other questions about social clubs, we’d love to hear from you: get in touch.
Manchester Cares Organisers
We are now looking to train some of our most committed volunteers to be “Manchester Cares Organisers”. This is a special position that offers volunteers who want to give more the chance to step even closer inside the Manchester Cares family – to be trained to run events under the Manchester Cares banner as group leaders themselves, to set up their own activities, to administer parts of our database in order to mobilise volunteers directly, and to ensure events are run smoothly – five times a year or more (whatever you can give).
In return, we will ensure our Manchester Cares Organisers have all the tools and contacts they need to run successful events.
If you would like to train to become an Manchester Cares Organiser please contact [email protected]
Once you have been volunteering with Manchester Cares for a while through our Social Clubs programme you may like to participate in our Love Your Neighbour project as well. This is where we match individual volunteers to individual older neighbours who are often housebound or otherwise isolated, so that you can offer a little practical support around the house, or just a little companionship and company to someone who needs a friend.
Our older neighbours who we engage through the Love Your Neighbour programme may be a little more frail or vulnerable than those who join our Social Clubs. We therefore require a little more commitment from volunteers who would like to support someone in this way. In particular, we need a DBS check before we can leave you alone with one of your neighbours. Although it takes a little back- and-forth and a few documents we can normally confirm a DBS check within two weeks, and we can still make an introduction to someone who we may think is a good fit for you in the meantime. We’ll do this as a team so it’s a nice informal introduction.
In addition, we need Love Your Neighbour volunteers to make a commitment, if you are willing to, to see your new friend once a week. Once a month you'll need to let us know the dates and times of your visits to your older neighbour that month, know, and how they're getting on.
If you would like to be part of the Love Your Neighbour project, please email Vicky ([email protected]) who’ll let you know much more.
Fundraising for Manchester Cares is a great way to make a difference to your older neighbours. With all of our events – from runs, to bake sales, to gigs, to pub quizzes, to dinners – there is a fun and vibrant atmosphere. And together, we can tackle isolation and loneliness in the City of Manchester.
How can I get involved?
There are three main ways to help us to make our older neighbours feel valued, vibrant and visible in this rapidly changing city:
My company has a charitable arm. Can I get Manchester Cares involved?
Of course! We’d love to work with your business. If you have a charity of the year, please consider nominating Manchester Cares. Or maybe you have a Payroll Giving scheme, and can donate to Manchester Cares through this? Or maybe your company has a charitable foundation to which Manchester Cares could apply for funding.
With any of these, you could help tackle isolation and loneliness across the City of Manchester. And in return, there’d be plenty of ways to get involved in Manchester Cares. From team volunteering days, to supporting us with skills in-kind, your company would really see the difference they are making. Please email Alex on [email protected] for more information on how your business could partner with Manchester Cares.
What Manchester Cares does, and the issues we’re trying to tackle, are complicated. As with every walk of life some of our work may contain risks. Although we have developed a robust risk assessment and policy framework to ensure that, where possible, all potentially harmful situations are avoided, mitigated or managed, we cannot avoid every eventuality – and you are ultimately individually responsible for your own behaviour, possessions, health and safety.
To guide you in case of a serious health emergency, please see the First Aid basics at the end of this Volunteer Handbook – and remember: if someone is in trouble please call the emergency services immediately.
The need for First Aid is extremely rare. However, given the people we work with, we need to know how to react if an emergency may arise. Manchester Cares' core staff are all Emergency First Trained as part of their first month induction on the team. But so that you, as a volunteer, are aware of how you can help please consider the following in case of emergency.
The Three Cs
Caring for an unconscious person
Treating specific problems
That’s it! Hopefully you’ve had all of your questions answered and you’re ready to get stuck in making friends and tackling loneliness across our rapidly changing city. If you have any questions at all don’t hesitate to get in touch on 0161 207 0800 or email any of the team.
Thanks for joining our community network, you’re the best!