For nine years, The Cares Family has brought older and younger people together to reduce loneliness and create inter-generational solidarity. In regular times, this work is face-to-face. With older people most at risk of the awful effects of both COVID-19 and social isolation, and younger people increasingly feeling lonely too, The Cares Family has re-invented its programmes during the pandemic to help people stay connected in a disconnecting time. They run 20 Virtual Social Clubs a week bringing older and younger friends together for dances, discussion groups, yoga, arts sessions, history nights and more – and people who aren’t online are able to dial in to take part. They launched Phone A Friend which is helping hundreds of older and younger people to offer a little solace amid the solitude, as well as a new #AloneTogether project, which is helping older and younger neighbours to connect by post, and to share games, jokes, quizzes, recipes, arts projects and more. The Cares Family is also making sure older people who live alone and can’t get out of the house are able to get food and medical supplies through its outreach project.
During the first lockdown, support from the Scheinberg Relief Fund enabled The Cares Family to create and deliver 4,000 activity packs each month to help keep its members stimulated, as well as providing funding to support the delivery of their online social clubs and telephone support services.
Like so many charities, the pandemic led to a shortfall in income while demand for The Cares Family’s programmes has spiked. With a waiting list of +450 seniors, the Scheinberg Relief Fund stepped in to provide additional financial support to ensure the continuation of their innovative programmes delivering vital activities during the continuing pandemic.