FaNs Club is a movement inspired by the FaNs Network that invites younger generations to enhance the lives of older people living in Essex care homes. The FaNs Club identifies opportunities for young people of all ages, from 4 years old up to college and university students, to develop their own learning and life skills by engaging with a generation that has so much to give. Learn more about the FaNs Club here!

Go to Fans Club

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

FaNs of the MomentSt Helena Hospice Volunteers

We’d like to extend a BIG thank you to St Helena Hospice volunteers, Linda Stansbury, Jane Boreham and Sue Dowling. These lovely ladies have been visiting local care homes in North East Essex (NEE) for over six months, befriending residents and staff. Their friendship has meant a great deal to those they have been supporting. One care home manager said: ‘ She [St Helena Hospice Volunteer] has made a real difference to many of our residents and even some of the staff … we are so grateful for the time she freely gives …  her kind and calming nature has had a positive effect on us all’.

The partnership between FaNs and St Helena Hospice emerged when care home managers expressed a need for sensitive and trained volunteers to be available to residents towards the end of life, particularly residents who have no immediate family or friends to be with them at that time.  Due to the pressure of work and time constraints care home staff often find it difficult to spend as much time as they’d like to with residents who are very ill.

Although the time for this pilot project has come to end, the partnership between the present Hospice volunteers and care homes in NEE will continue. The Hospice is unable to expand the project at the moment but will maintain interest in FaNs. There has been a good deal of learning, and we are very grateful to the volunteers, and to Frances Rowe, St Helena Hospice Head of Community Services, Tendring, for her help and support. If you’d like more information please email jan@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