Celebrating our Younger Neighbour Network: Listening and Learning to Make our Communities Better

Vols Blog

At the end of May, the Liverpool Cares team were joined by some fantastic younger neighbours from the network, to take a pause and celebrate all the wonderful things they have done for us during nearly a year and a half of lockdown restrictions - and to update them on what our team has also been up to behind the scenes. As well as sharing all of this learning, we also really wanted to make sure the evening was fun for all - so we made sure to mix things up with a few games of Play Your Cards Right and some polls!

The purpose of the evening was twofold. Firstly, we wanted to take this time to check in with our younger neighbours, to listen and learn from their experiences so that together we can rebuild a stronger, safer community for everyone to be a part of. We did this by splitting into break out rooms where we asked everyone two key questions:

  1. Do you have any anxieties/hesitations about returning to face-to-face clubs? What are they?
  2. What further training/learning/support would you like from us?

The conversations and learning we took away was valuable to us as an organisation and we appreciate the openness of our younger neighbours so much. Younger neighbours expressed their anxieties about moving back to face-to-face programmes, and about how best to challenge all forms of discrimiation - and everyone agreed that they’d appreciate training and support in how to build the skills and confidence necessary to challenge and ‘call in’ such behaviour wherever it occurs. 

As a team we were all grateful to receive feedback from our younger neighbours which will help us to shape our programmes - in particular, Maky (48) expressed, “I think what you do and the way you approach it is inspirational - I wish every organisation did this.”

Finally, the focus shifted and our team updated the younger neighbours about changes to our programmes in line with current restrictions easing - and how these changes would affect their experience of our programmes. As a team we explained how we plan to move forward with both Virtual and In-Person Social Clubs for the foreseeable future - and all of the measures we’ve put in place to keep everyone safe. 

We also spoke about the way in which our Love Your Neighbour programme has adapted - becoming more flexible about the ways in which friends catch up, whether that be over the phone or in person. We also filled everyone in on all of the proactive Outreach work we have planned in the coming month in order to rebuild our community links and reach out to new places across our brilliant city. 

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We also wanted to use this evening as an opportunity to communicate openly with our younger neighbours about the way we’re continuing to embed anti-racist learning into our programmes - and all of the other learning we’re doing to better support all of our neighbours, for example recent Samaritans training that all of our delivery team has completed to support in conversations with vulnerable people.

We explained about the steps we’ve already taken, and our wider commitment to anti-racism, and all of the things that we’re still doing to make our programme spaces more equitable. As well as speaking about the formulation of our internal Anti Racism Action Group at The Cares Family, we also shared about the recent training all of the team in Liverpool Cares had received from the Anthony Walker Foundation and gave anonymised examples of how we had all challenged racism and discrimination in programmes over the past year. 

We want to equip our neighbours to do this work alongside us, and are encouraging all members of our community to ‘call in’ racist or discriminatory behaviour - wherever they may see it occur. Along with challenging racism and discrimination we also want to support members of our community, giving them the opportunity to commit to learning from and changing their behaviour. 

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As a team we want to thank all of the younger neighbours who took time out to come along to our celebration evening, we appreciate all of the thoughts, learning and feedback that everyone shared. We want to continue to create stronger communities, and to do the work to make our spaces safer, more inclusive and more representative of our wonderful city - but we can’t do it without all of you! 

If reading this has inspired you to join our community of volunteers, then we’d love to hear from you. You can find out more about volunteering with Liverpool Cares by going to: https://liverpoolcares.org.uk/…,  by dropping Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator Rachael an email on [email protected], or by giving us call on 0151 659 1789 and selecting option 1.

Rachael Treacher

Posted by Rachael Treacher on Tuesday 15th June 2021

Rachael Treacher is the Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator at Liverpool Cares: she manages our community network of younger and older neighbours. 

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