Help on Your Doorstep

9 November 2016


Company Three are part of a little consortium of local charities who are working together to think about what we do and how we do it. Recently we have been visiting each other's projects and learning about each other's work.

I watched the Trump election pan out until 4:30am this morning, went to sleep, dreamt about alligators with leathery skin trying to eat me and woke up to the now familiar click of the radio confirming bad news on the day after an election.  

And then I went to visit Help On Your Doorstep.  It's a charity with a very simple concept: workers and volunteers go door to door on a local estate asking people there how they're doing and if they need any help with anything - finances, work, smoke alarms, company. And then they hook them up with people who can help.

I walked with a woman called Parveen for two hours, knocking on doors on an estate in Archway.

We met a man looking after his double amputee nephew, a woman who uses a wheelchair but has steps down to her front door, a man who has had multiple illnesses and transplants but really wants to get back to work at 55 (anyone need a German translator?).  

Then there was a middle aged woman with a terminal brain tumor who was losing her sight and her speech who told us she had loads of people looking after her so not to worry about her.  "Go and look after the people who have more time left" she said.  "Go and help the young people, they need it today".

And so we went on, knocking on doors. The only person who shut the door in our face was a surprised looking man wearing only a towel. Everyone else received us kindly.  Some stayed for a long time, grateful for a chat.

It was the simplest way of looking after others, about listening and responding and helping where possible. It was local and meaningful. And a far cry from the bigger story of the day.