Pat: 'This is life changing: I feel on top of the world'

It’s important to us at Liverpool Cares that we listen and learn from our community of neighbours, that we value their voices, and that we reflect on our work and learn for the future when they share their experiences.  

Earlier in the year we set about gathering feedback from the older neighbours who’re involved in Love Your Neighbour. We often check in and chat over the phone, but we also wanted to give our older neighbours the opportunity to write down their thoughts about their matches and their involvement in Liverpool Cares! We sent everyone involved with Love Your Neighbour a questionnaire (along with a handy return envelope) and eagerly awaited the post to arrive so we could hear what they had to say.

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Neil joined Liverpool Cares in November 2022 and was matched with his younger neighbour in April of this year. Since then, the new friends have enjoyed spending time together over a cup of tea, going for walks in the neighbourhood and even appreciated a trip to the Walker Art gallery. Below are some snippets from Neil’s feedback:

“Alice and Jess attended the home assessment. They were extremely friendly, understanding, interested, helpful and totally put myself and my wife at ease. The explained how Liverpool Cares runs the clubs and one-to-one matching which was what I was paticularly interested in.They left saying hopefully it would not be too long before a match would be found. This turned out to be quite a speedy process. Martin is an extremely nice chap. He is very easy to get along with. He is very sociable, polite, knowledgable and interesting to chat to, Martin is thoughtful and I am very pleased with this match. I am happy and content with how things are working out at the moment... Liverpool Cares is excellent! Thank you so much!”  

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Pat, one of our longest standing Love Your Neighbour matches, was introduced to Becky in March of 2020. Over the last three years, they’ve forged a very close friendship with one another. Pat shared some insight into her experience of being matched with and getting to know Becky. 

[Becky is] a breath of fresh air into my life. I feel on top of the world when we have a chatter. I get lovely whatsapp pictures – from photos of Clifford (her dog) to her holidays and the many weddings she has been to. We have booked a theater trip and I am going to Becky’s 30th Birthday party in Liverpool town centre! We both love going on walks with Clifford her dog. We both adore eating out. I take a picnic on our walks sometimes. If someone else could have a match like mine it would change their lives! I love hearing about what she has been doing, she has such an active social life. She also gives a good perspective if I have a problem. Our motto is ‘always look on the bright side of life’ even though it is very hard at times. The people I have met at Liverpool Cares who have been Love Your Neighbour friends also seem very happy with their matches."

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Hearing from our neighbours about their experiences of Love Your Neighbour and their budding friendships was incredibly valuable. Reflecting on the feedback we’ve received; we can see that the overwhelming majority are positive experiences.  

Giving our neighbours space to feedback also means that we can highlight any concerns or challenges and think about how we can adapt our programmes for the future. For example, one concern was the waiting period between being referred and being matched. We’re already aware of this – and how variable the wait period can be – but it’s not something we can rectify quickly or easily. We work hard to match people as quickly as possible, but this also relies on a variety of external factors such as locations of our younger neighbours in the city, but also wanting to ensure that every match we make are well suited to one another and can build a friendship together. The unique nature of our matches means that things can take a little longer – but we like to think the friendships built out of our matches are worth the wait. 

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Alice Taylor

Posted by Alice Taylor on Thursday 31st August 2023

Alice Taylor is the Love Your Neighbour coordinator for Liverpool Cares. She manages our one-to-one friendship matching programme.