The Cares Family helps people find connection and community in a disconnected age.
We opened in 2011 after our founder, Alex, was canvassing for votes as a council candidate in the local elections. As he was doing his rounds, knocking on doors, he met Fred, a neighbour in his 80s who hadn't been out of his house for three months. Alex wheeled Fred in his wheelchair to the voting place, and the next day returned to help Fred get a haircut.
As the pair became friends, it became clear that this was a truly mutual relationship: Fred was reducing his isolation through his interactions with Alex; and Alex was feeling more connected to his community than ever before, hearing about Fred's amazing stories and discovering what they had in common.
In that moment, the idea for The Cares Family was born.
North London Cares was the first branch to come alive. Over three years it developed four programmes to bring older and younger neighbours together to share time, friendship and new experiences – through Social Clubs, a one-to-one Love Your Neighbour friendship programme, Outreach that invited older and younger neighbours to share time and new experiences, and Community Fundraising.
South London Cares followed in 2014, and further developed the model. In 2017 Manchester Cares arrived, followed by Liverpool Cares in 2018, and East London Cares in 2019. The Cares Family is now active in five great, rapidly-changing city locations with heritage and heart at their core.
Across the group, some 18,000 older and younger people have now found confidence, community and connection through new relationships with their neighbours, and with the changing landscapes around them.