In her last blog of 2021, Social Clubs coordinator Abbie looks back on a year of programmes in Liverpool Cares. 2021 might not be ending the way we’d hoped it would, but we’ve still managed to have fun, connect with new neighbours, and support our community - whilst keeping everyone safe.
This year hasn’t been without its challenges, but in spite of everything this year Liverpool Cares has made the transition back to in-person social clubs, restarted our home visits for our Love your Neighbour programme, and gotten back out into our communities to do some all-important in-person Outreach. We also saw the return of fundraising challenges that weren't completed virtually, with neighbours taking part in a Car Boot, Abseil and Santa Dash! All the while we've been keeping an eye on Covid numbers and responding to government guidance so that we can keep everyone safe.
Believe it or not, but 2021 has come to an end and it’s been another amazing year of connection, conversation, and company. We want to take a moment to look back at some great moments and memories throughout 2021, and celebrate our wonderful community of older and younger neighbours, who have laughed, danced, sang, and supported one another through this year.
The Liverpool Cares team were thrilled to get back out in the community this year, once again meeting with older and younger neighbours across the city and telling them all about Liverpool Cares and the programmes we run. Senior Volunteer and Outreach coordinator Rachael has been busy joining in with Knit and Natter groups in Old Swan, meeting older neighbours with Everton in the Community at the new Blue Base in Walton, and encouraging students at LJMU to get involved at September’s fresher’s fair in the city centre. We’ve also reintroduced our face-to-face Volunteer Inductions, and have been so happy to meet new younger neighbours in person to tell them all about Liverpool Cares.
In the last few months, an incredible 130 new older neighbours and 82 new younger neighbours have joined the Liverpool Cares network - and we can’t wait to get to know every single one of them!
Along with our proactive community outreach coming back, we’ve also been slowly and safely reintroducing face-to-face social clubs into our programme this year - and it’s been a joy to reconnect with neighbours in person after being separated!
We started our face-to-face clubs back in May - getting together in some of the beautiful parks across the city. Neighbours got together outdoors to learn new dance moves with Movema, sing along to tunes with Holistic Harmonies, and even play some ‘sports day’ style games!
As well as organising these fab outdoor clubs, Abbie has also been busy creating new connections with local businesses, like local cafe The Watering Can, and reintroducing old favourites into the programme! Neighbours even saw a joyful return to the Ropewalks Lounge for Singalong in November, with Jez on piano.
Meanwhile, lots of our Love Your Neighbour matches have been meeting up in person for the first time this year - after being matched together last year as a part of our Phone a Friend programme, many of these pals finally took their chatting on the road and enjoyed strolls in the park, drinks in the sun, and even some delicious afternoon tea feasts! More recently, matches have been enjoying exploring the Christmas markets together and making plans for the new year.
Finally, we can’t talk about 2021 without mentioning our wonderful birthday party back in October. This year Liverpool Cares turned 3, and our community celebrated together at the Blackburne Arms in town with a birthday bash that felt like a reunion for so many friends who hadn’t seen one another in months.
Older and younger neighbours gabbed over cakes and biscuits made by one of our younger neighbours, Francezka, and in true Liverpool Cares style, there was an impromptu singalong to tunes by Dolly Parton, Abba and more. It was incredible to see almost 60 of our neighbours back together in one place, and we hope to do it again soon.
We've had a jam-packed year, and although 2021 isn't ending the way we wanted it to we still can’t wait to see what 2022 brings, and know that whatever happens, we'll continue to find ways for our community to build connections together.
Posted by Abbie Beckett on Thursday 23rd December 2021
Abbie leads the Social Clubs programme at Liverpool Cares.