“Life goes on no matter what” - Jeanette (65).
In disconnecting times, listening, hearing, and connecting with older neighbours has never been so important. In her latest blog, Outreach Coordinator Rachael talks about the ways Liverpool Cares has been helping to support older neighbour Jeanette during lockdown and the value of trust, kindness and community spirit.
I met 65-year-old Jeanette from Wavertree almost two years ago, at a local community lunch club. After speaking to Jeanette about our programmes, including our Social Clubs, she quickly became a regular. As a lover of all things craft, Jeanette has been along to many of our Craft Clubs including die cutting, basket weaving and card making. Jeanette has the ability to be fantastic at any craft she turns her hands to, whether she’s tried it before or not.
When I first met Jeanette, she told me;
“Having things to do and places to go makes life worth it. I can’t wait to meet new people and share some stories and laughter with them!”
Over the last seven months we haven’t been able to get together in the way that Jeanette is used to, and many of Jeanette’s regular opportunities to socialise and connect with her community have been suspended. We’re aware that these have been doubly disconnecting times for anybody already struggling with isolation, so at Liverpool Cares we’ve been making sure that Jeanette’s staying well and feels connected during the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
Every month we’ve been posting Jeanette our #AloneTogether activity pack, and checked-in with her regularly through calls during the height of lockdown. We’ve also referred her to organisations like GoodGym, who’ve helped her with essential support. In March, when lockdown first began, we dropped off some essentials to Jeanette’s home which included some eggs so that Jeanette could make her favourite ‘chucky egg on toast’ breakfast! During April Jeanette also received a warm food delivery from the brilliant team over at The Little Shoe bakery, which included three hot meals and some essentials like bread, milk and butter. Finally, in May Jeanette was also referred to GoodGym, and received two larger shopping food deliveries thanks to their fantastic support.
During one of our check-in calls in the summer, Jeanette told me about how the weeds in her back garden had overgrown and she was unable to sit out in her yard and enjoy the wonderful sunshine. Thankfully, Jeanette went on to say that one of her neighbours had offered to “lend her a hand” to clear her yard – after which meant she was able to sit outside for the first time since March!
“I’d never spoken to my neighbours before lockdown – and now they have been helping me with my weekly shopping!”.
I was delighted to hear how Jeanette’s community had begun to rally around and support her during the incredibly tough times that we’ve all faced over the past seven months, and equally pleased to see that Jeanette was able to build trusting relationships with her community around her. It’s heart-warming to see how neighbours are learning to trust one another in new ways during this time, showing kindness and connection by helping one another out. I believe the ripple effects of communities and individuals showing kindness and support goes an incredibly long way – right out to the Mersey no doubt!
As we move through more restrictions, during the coldest months of the year, making sure that our older Scouse neighbours feel supported and connected to their community is even more important than ever before. I’m excited about the launch of our winter outreach project, and how we’ll be able to connect even more older neighbours, like Jeanette, to the additional support and guidance they may need during whatever lies ahead.
This year we’ve all felt how loneliness can affect us, but similarly seen the benefits of staying connected to one another. Community kindness goes a long way in this city, so let’s continue to keep it up!
Everyone can make a change to their community. You can get involved to support older neighbours here, or if you want to refer someone who is over 65 to any of our core programmes click here. Alternatively, give the Liverpool Cares team a call on 0151 659 1789.
Posted by Rachael Treacher on Thursday 8th October 2020
Rachael Treacher is the Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator at Liverpool Cares: she manages our community network of younger and older neighbours.