Guest Blog: North London Cares

Islington Giving is delighted to be supporting Saturday Socials in partnership with North London CaresAll ChangeCubitt and Arsenal in the Community. As part of this programme, last week saw an exciting table tennis tournament with Norton London Cares and Laura from their team tells us how it went:

With the score tied at one game each, Quan and Fred returned to the table for the decider. The excited cheers died down and the crowd went silent as they nervously watched the duo compete for the trophy. Quan took an early lead but Fred’s competitive spirit could not be quashed.  The power demonstrated in every serve was met with gasps from supporters, followed by jubilant roars. Back and forth, back and forth – Islington’s first over 55’s table tennis tournament did not disappoint.

I work for local charity, North London Cares, recruiting volunteers from across Islington and Camden to support their older neighbours who may feel isolated or lonely. Those volunteers provide help around the home and organise free social activities in an attempt to bridge social divides, share skills and bring communities closer together.

Organising free, fun and inventive groups – from Men’s cooking clubs to film nights – our sessions take place day and evening, but our latest venture is a regular Saturday meet. Thanks to support from Islington Giving and with partners All Change, Cubitt and Arsenal in the Community, each week we host a different activity in a bid to get Islington socialising and trying new pursuits, on a day when many of the fantastic local community centres are otherwise closed.

So far Saturday Socials have included an Oscar-winning film screening and a club devoted to Arsenal fans but last week we decided to get active!

Inspired by the documentary Ping Pong, which focuses on the over 80′s table tennis world championship, we took 2 tables (kindly donated by the Peel Centre) down to the Claremont Project and hosted an afternoon of fun and friendly competition. Twenty of our older neighbours came down to try the sport as well as seven of our young volunteers. The result was a day filled with laughter, encouragement, friendly competition and support. A game for all ages, our practise table saw twenty year olds matched with those in their eighties, but each was an even game.

IMG_1799Five people took to the tables to compete for the trophy resulting in an exciting final between Quan and Fred. Quan fought a fantastic fight and took the title. Everyone asked when the next one would be, so plans are in motion for the next tournament in the summer. Keep checking the North London Cares website ( for the more details. In the meantime we still have our next Saturday Social, “Knit and Knatter”, to come, plus a cooking club and the extremely popular Yarn Dance at Platform on Hornsey Road.

Click below to watch the film we have made about the tournament. If you would like more information on our activities, please call me on 0773 603 6663 – we’d be delighted to have you on board.  Islington is a fantastic borough, with so much to offer, so why not try a new activity and make new friends in the process?

Laura Woodley, North London Cares