The Cares Family: Annual Report 2020
Posted by Alex Smith on 10th March 2021
When we set up The Cares Family in 2011, we knew that pervasive loneliness, isolation and disconnection were not only damaging individuals’ lives, but that those issues were also damaging wider British society. We could see face-to-face interactions disappearing as high streets and neighbourhoods transformed, globalisation and transience kicked up roots, and technology started to play a dominant role in how people share time.
What we didn’t know then is that after a nearly a decade of growth in The Cares Family, and having successfully shown not only the insidiousness of loneliness but also the power of connection across generations and other perceived differences, we would face a pandemic that would challenge our very model at the exact time it was needed most.
2020 was an extraordinary and painful year for everyone. We all missed the closeness of loved ones and indeed many of the freedoms that we have taken for granted. For The Cares Family, which seeks to bring older and younger people together to build community amongst the two loneliest age groups in society, it was also a defining year – one in which we did everything in our power to help keep the generations together even as they were forced apart.
We made a real difference. Over 6,500 older and younger people shared solace and solidarity, connection and community, perspective and patience – through our re-invented programmes that brought the generations together even from afar. And in those interactions, which neighbours say have been ‘a lifesaver’, we found a deep, latent hunger for society to change – to be more connected, more cohesive, and to focus anew on the power of community.
More than just a name, this truly is a family. It is a place of shared kindness, community, learning, bravery and trust – qualities embedded in our work through our values. It is also a place for innovation: for finding new ways to bring people together. That’s why, even as we continue to face down a pandemic, we're excited about what this family can do together in 2021, through new projects to build connection and community beyond our traditional programmes, all of which you can read about in our 2020 Annual Report.
We're so grateful for everyone's support – donors, partners, friends and of course the neighbours themselves, who make this family what it is: a place to call home.