About the Friends and Neighbours network

We are a community of people across Essex who care for, and about, some of our oldest citizens – the people who live in care homes.

Our network of FaNs (Friends and Neighbours) exists simply because we all deserve the best possible quality of life. Whether we are four or ninety-four, we all need to feel listened to and appreciated. FaNs play a part in making this a reality for older people living in care homes. We recognise that many care homes work hard to make sure that their residents enjoy a good quality of life – but they can’t do it all. If we choose to help them there is so much more that can be done. Anyone of any of any age who shares our values can be a FaN. Our values are centred on inclusion, community, equality and having fun.
Right now, there are older people living in care homes whose lives are being transformed by this movement of like-minded people who want to make every moment count. FaNs can be individuals, businesses, community groups, faith groups or statutory organisations. There is a particular role for young people, who we hope will eventually have their own FaN Club on this website. There are lots of different ways to help, some of which involve visiting care homes and some which do not. No specific time commitment is required and FaNs are invited to help in whatever way suits them best. One thing is for certain, FaNs really enjoy what they do, and they make a real difference. Learn more about what FaNs is all about to see if you’d like to get involved with our growing movement.

Read their stories

individual1There is a common misconception that volunteering with the elderly involves sitting around for hours on end, not doing very much. While there’s no denying that we’re all partial to a nice comfy armchair, we think you’d be surprised by the humour, or the number of unrepeatable stories that are shared between residents and FaNs every week. Our volunteers get so much from the people they’re visiting, or the care home they’re helping, because their lives are uniquely enriched through their individual gesture. When you scratch the surface, you can discover a rich library of stories that will change your life in a way you would never have guessed. Our FaN Stories

FaN of the Moment

Green and gold aftwA BIG thank you to Colchester Zoo who are supporting local care homes by offering 8 tickets for residents and 8 tickets for those with disabilities plus those caring for them. These tickets are offered free of charge each month during March – October inclusive and the Zoo hope to provide some assistance during the visits.

The Zoo staff are exploring the possibility of visiting local care homes from November – February, they look forward to meeting residents and sharing some of the experiences they enjoy whilst working with their wonderful animals.

If you would like to obtain free tickets to Colchester Zoo or are interested in the Zoo staff visiting your care home please contact Tony i.e. tony@mhlec.org


How you can make it count

Our FaNs come in all shapes and sizes and range from six year old school children who paint pictures for our care homes to young mums living in the local area, as well as a League One football club or our county’s fire and rescue service.

It’s the small gestures that can produce the biggest impact, which is why we’re inviting people to get involved in a way that suits them and their busy schedule. We know that making every moment count doesn’t have to mean making a huge commitment of time or a grand gesture – treasured moments can be really small. And that’s what we’re here to facilitate.

Simply fill out our short registration form and download our leaflet that highlights how you can get involved in a way that suits you.

I want to make it count


Who we work with

Our volunteers help build the FaNs movement by taking an active interest in the well-being of care homes and the people who live in them. They get involved in a way that suits them, and spread the word to encourage others to do the same. Our volunteers are:

  • Individuals
  • Schools (primary & secondary)
  • Colleges and Universities
  • Musicians, music groups & choirs
  • Performers and Entertainers
  • Youth groups
  • Community Groups (e.g. Women’s Institutes; Retirees)
  • Local societies (e.g. Arts, Photography, Gardening, Local History)
  • Social service groups (e.g. RVS, Alzheimers Society)
  • Faith groups
  • Businesses of all sizes
  • Shops and supermarkets
  • Local authorities
  • Public services
  • Social enterprises

Individuals, groups, organisations and businesses across the county have responded enthusiastically to the invitation to support our movement. We call them ‘Ambassadors’ because they are champions for our community. Find out who they are and learn more about the excellent work they do by clicking the button below. Our Partners

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