The Cares Family is a group of charities that work across five local areas in north, south and east London, Manchester and Liverpool under the umbrella of a parent charity. The charities seek to expand community and connection in rapidly changing cities by bringing older and young people together to reduce loneliness and isolation through relationships; and to improve people’s confidence and their sense of community belonging.
The Cares Family had an overall budget of £1.7 million in 2019/20, 80% of which covers staff costs. The key sources of funding are from community fundraising (including from high net worth individuals and corporate partners), and from trusts and foundations. The Cares Family was supported to scale its approach through funding from theNational Lottery Community Fund, Nesta and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation.
It uses local heritage to help reduce the gaps between people, and to build meaningful relationships across divides through four core programmes:
• Social clubs which offer group activities centred around creating time for laughter and new experiences. Groups are made up of between 10 and 150 people who participate in technology workshops, and visits to local businesses, to choirs and dance parties. Social clubs are organised by members of the Cares team, who bookvenues and communicate with older and younger people about the events, and organise facilitators, performers, DJs etc. The events are built around a particular activity or area of interest which helps people who may be more nervous about chatting to get involved. Everyone is welcomed to the event, and introduced to other participants so that people immediately feel connected.
• Outreach through which the team connects with older and younger people and encourages them to get involved in Cares’ activities. The outreach team works in a range of community settings including pharmacies and GP surgeries, local faith groups, pubs and betting shops, and by knocking on doors. The team also undertakes home visits where needed. They spend time talking to people about their lives and interests, building trust and helping them to identify things they might be interested in doing – whether that is attending events or support to get involved with other programmes.
• Love Your Neighbour which offers people one-to-one connections in their own homes or out and about. Friends are given a £40 budget to enable them to buy in board games, films or takeaways, or to go out and enjoy a trip to the café or other community activity together.
• Community Fundraising which offers another way for older and younger people to come together to share time and camaraderie, and to build a stake in the community while keeping all the activities free.