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

Daniel and Rosalind 1Daniel is 5 years old and loves superheroes, he also loved visiting 101 year old Rosalind and telling her all about them! Rosalind asked Daniel lots of questions and enjoyed learning the superhero names and their powers.  She was quite impressed with Captain America but not so sure about the Hulk! Daniel was accompanied on his visit by his Nana who say’s ‘it’s these little visits, short and sweet, that can make all the difference to those living in care homes, and the youngsters love it just as much’  Daniel often mentions his visit to Rosalind, he remembers her well, just as well as he remembers the chocolates she gave him!



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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