In her first blog, Anna talks about how she first found out about Liverpool Cares, what made her get involved, and how her first few weeks as Community Coordinator have gone.
I first came across Liverpool Cares when setting up an Outreach Programme for The British Music Experience. I was looking for older people to take part in a monthly reminiscence session. With little to no budget I kept programming the sessions, and saying the mantra ‘if you build it they will come’ - if I ever see Kevin Costner I need to remember to thank him!
After many months of empty seats I was signposted to Liverpool Cares, and as they say, the rest is history. Watching older and younger people sitting chatting, laughing and reminiscing over a cup of tea and a biscuit may sound like nothing special, but to think that is to miss the magic. After all, connection is everything. The relationships we make in this life give us our greatest joy, and that’s what Liverpool Cares is all about; creating new friendships whatever your age.
Pictured below, a packed reminiscence session back in 2019.
As time passed, I kept my eye on Liverpool Cares and what they were getting up to. After many years working within the arts and culture industry, I was also contemplating a move into the charity sector - I needed a change, and wanted to work with a team who had a shared goal and for the work to impact my home city. Jump forward almost three years and the right opportunity at the right time came up! I'm lucky to say I work with Liverpool Cares, within the city I love and call home.
I truly believe Liverpool is the best city in the world. When I’ve said this to people on my travels I explain that it’s not arrogance - it's confidence. And why am I so confident? It’s the people. The people of Liverpool are the friendliest in the world. I'm pretty sure this is a fact, but don’t quote me. The scousers have been welcoming people from all over the world with open arms for years, which has created a melting pot of diversity with a rich cultural heritage. It's the only city I know where you can walk down the street and you can guarantee you’ll bump into someone you know. It's a city which feels like a village.
The Community Coordinator role is an exciting new role within the Liverpool Cares team. The role goes beyond the programmes, and provides the scaffolding that bridges the gap between our older neighbours and the local, statutory and community organisations which can provide them with further support, and help them to engage with our programmes. The Community Coordinator role will also help nourish and grow our already established connections within our community. I am genuinely excited to get stuck in and see the impact it will have on our programmes, our neighbours and our community.
I’ll leave you with a favourite moment from my first couple of weeks from when I attended a social club at The Open Eye gallery. I was met with such a warm and friendly welcome from everyone but was delighted to bump into one of Liverpool Cares’ longest participating neighbours - Alma. I first met Alma back in 2019 when she attended one of the Reminiscence sessions. At the time I was very heavily pregnant, and Alma stayed behind the session for a little chat with me about all things babies. When I saw Alma again I was excited to hear what she had been up to, to tell her how pleased I am to work for Liverpool Cares, and to show her pictures of my growing family! And therein lies the (not so secret) secret about why Liverpool Cares is so successful at what it does - when we sit with one another, and give each other space to share our stories, we feel both valued and heard. We feel less alone.
Posted by Anna Richards on Wednesday 22nd December 2021
Anna Richards is the Community Coordinator for Liverpool Cares. She supports neighbours to connect to local organisations depending on their needs.