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“This is what we came here to do.”

Posted by Alex Smith on 23rd December 2020

By Alex Smith

“This is what we came here to do.”

When we set up The Cares Family in 2011, we knew that pervasive loneliness, isolation and disconnection were not only fundamentally 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 so long.

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 have made a real difference. Over 6,500 older and younger people have shared solace and solidarity, connection and community, perspective and patience – 75% more people than we worked with in 2019. And in those interactions, which neighbours say have been ‘a lifeline’, we have 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, I’m excited about what this family can do in 2021, through new adaptations and partnerships in our long-standing programmes, and new projects to build connection and community beyond our traditional initiatives too.

And after that pandemic has passed – and it will pass – The Cares Family will still be a place that embodies those values, because this is what we came here to do: to build connection in disconnecting times.

Donate today

Thank you for considering a donation to The Cares Family. Your gift will help to tackle loneliness and build connection and community in a disconnected world. Our work is powered by people – so please chip in if you can.

The Cares Family is a UK registered company (10236615) and registered charity (no. 1180638). North London Cares is a UK registered company (07737818) and registered charity (1153137). South London Cares is a UK registered company (8757344) and registered charity (1157401). Manchester Cares is a UK registered company (10893107) and registered charity (1176902). Liverpool Cares is a UK registered company (11166325) and registered charity (no. 1177749). East London Cares is a UK registered company (11809555) and registered charity (no. 1186012).