As Liverpool Cares prepares to turn three years old the team shares about the future of programmes now that restrictions have eased, what loneliness looks like to them, and — most importantly — what they love most about scousers!
Time for introductions! What's your role at Liverpool Cares?
Abbie: I'm the Social Clubs Coordinator — my role is to develop and run creative, diverse and exciting Social Clubs for our older and younger neighbours to enjoy every month. I joined Liverpool Cares in October 2018, and it was so exciting! We put our heads together, used our local knowledge, and put loads of good energy into building our programmes.
Alice: I've been with Liverpool Cares since February, and I'm the Love Your Neighbour Programme Coordinator. I match older and younger neighbours up for one-to-one, mutually beneficial friendships — shared over phone calls and home visits.
Have you always wanted to work for an organisation like Liverpool Cares, or have you worked for organisations like this one before?
Jess: I don't think there's another organisation quite like Liverpool Cares! Before joining Liverpool Cares I hadn’t worked in the charity sector, my background is actually in management - of bookshops and nursing homes. Joining Liverpool Cares was a natural fit for me though, building community in a city I'm so passionate about.
Rachael T: My background is in events and project management, specifically in arts and culture. I’ve always loved working with people and bringing new experiences into their lives through cultural projects — like working with local residents to build a 60-foot cardboard castle in Knowsley Safari Park!
What have you learned from working over the past 18 months?
Jess: Being adaptable is such an important skill to develop, no matter what you do. Adaptability also means a lot more than thinking quickly on your feet! It means being brave, kind, and creative and it also means not being afraid to make a few mistakes along the way.
Abbie: You just have to give things a go — if you never try, you never know! We moved quickly when lockdown hit to think of new ways to keep people connected, and now our Virtual and Phone-in Social Clubs are a regular part of our programmes, which was something we'd never tried before.
What do you enjoy most about your role at Liverpool Cares?
Rachael F: The variety! As the Development Coordinator, I also get to be creative.
Abbie: It's amazing to see the change in older and younger neighbours when they attend Social Clubs. Often there can be some nerves to begin with, but after some reassurance and a promise of a good brew, it’s so lovely to see people coming out of their shells.
What does connection mean to you?
Abbie: Connection can’t happen without understanding, sincerity, and a willingness to listen and share.
Alice: Connection is as vital to the human condition as food and water!
Jess: Connection is understanding that all of us are stronger together, and we shouldn’t let our differences come between us — we should always be listening to people with different lived experiences to ourselves, and supporting one another.
Liverpool Cares seeks to reduce loneliness — what does loneliness look like to you?
Rachael F: It's when you're on your own, but you don’t want to be at that certain time.
Jess: Loneliness looks different for everyone — it isn’t a monolith, and it doesn’t discriminate. By talking to one another and building stronger communities we’re creating more pathways for people to manage and reduce their loneliness.
Abbie: It’s important to remember that old saying: “you don’t need to be alone to feel lonely” — and being open and honest about it is the first step to making a change.
What does the future of your programme look like now that restrictions have eased?
Abbie: We’ll be steadily increasing the number of face-to-face social clubs, as well as continuing to offer virtual and phone-in options. We're also looking forward to reintroducing some of our classic social clubs — like Singalong! — as well as trying new activities together in places and spaces we haven't been to.
Alice: Many of our matches have already been meeting up in person and spending time together, so I'm excited to grow the reach of Love Your Neighbour across the city, making more matches and spreading more joy.
Finally - what do you most love about scousers?
Rachael T: Their brutal honesty. You can't kid a kidda, kidda!
Abbie: I could talk all day about why I love scousers! We are warm, kind-natured, funny, creative, and strong. I’m so proud to be from a city known for its people.
Jess: I love the strong-willed community spirit, the unflinchingly honest humour and the warm nature. Scousers are a unique bunch of people, and I’m grateful to have a family full of them, and to meet new ones every day.
Posted by Rachael Treacher on Monday 27th September 2021
Rachael Treacher is the Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator at Liverpool Cares: she manages our community network of younger and older neighbours.