When I was about 7 years old I used to visit my neighbour Mrs Shaw. Mrs Shaw was an 85 year old widow who lived in the other half of the semi-detached building I called home at the brow of a hill in Ormskirk, 5 miles out of the town centre.
Looking back, I now recognise that Mrs Shaw was living in quite extreme isolation – she didn’t drive, her family lived over 20 miles away and she lived alone apart from her cat, Ginger. She would often knock on the adjoining wall between our houses as a sign that she wanted company and I would go and visit her. The visits would last from 30 minutes to 3-4 hours sometimes – and I would find my parents knocking back on the wall telling me to come home!
During our time together Mrs Shaw taught me to have compassion for people, the value of laughter and friendship and to be positive. She had such kind warm heart with a great attitude for getting on with things in life.
I hadn’t thought about Mrs Shaw for a long time – in fact not until I heard about the Cares Family a few years ago. I was refreshed by the way they tackled issues around connectivity, isolation and loneliness in urban environments. Essentially the Cares Family gets humans to do what they do best – come together, interact, and talk with each other in fun social situations. I actually thought, why aren’t we doing this kind of thing in Liverpool? Fast forward a few years and here I am helping to start this wonderful organisation!
Before Liverpool Cares, I was working – for 18 years – as a freelancer delivering arts, culture and wellbeing schemes and events across the city. I’ve worked on about every type of project possible (I often describe myself as a bit of an Anneka Rice of Liverpool, bumbag and headset compulsory, always!). The one thing that all the projects have in common is that they are all centred around people and people enjoying themselves. And this is where my heart is – there is nothing I love more that successfully running projects that people benefit from and make people happy.
I’m so excited to connect communities and individuals both young and old with the amazing programmes and opportunities Liverpool Cares will be creating. The free Social Clubs will be running in neighbourhoods across the city and will generate opportunities for people across social, generational, digital and cultural divides to come together, laugh, form friendships and hang out.
The Love Your Neighbour programme creates connections on a one-to-one level and is a great opportunity to get to know a person over the long-term, and to share stories and pearls of wisdom you probably won’t find on social media! And the Winter Wellbeing project that I’ll be leading on will help older neighbours across the city to stay warm, be active, healthy and connected over the colder months.
I cannot wait to develop Liverpool Cares and bring some Scouse flair, humour and love to it. We’re all connected in some way. So go’ed people of Liverpool let's create something truly special in the best city in the world!
Posted by Rachael Treacher on Friday 12th October 2018
Rachael Treacher is the Volunteer and Outreach Officer at Liverpool Cares: she manages our community network of younger and older neighbours.