FaNs Network - May's Cause of the Month


Posted on May 1st, 2020 by Nina Chinsky

FaNs Network – My Home Life Essex Community is honoured to be the Giving Machine’s May Featured Charity. We are a small local Charity and we thank everyone who supports us.

With anxiety levels raised and the impact of the Covid-19 Lockdown, our work to reduce isolation in our communities has never been more important. This is especially so for our Care Home residents and their hardworking staff. Our online Friends and Neighbours (FaNs) Network is already a powerful community asset, sharing requests, offers of help and encouraging others to participate in ‘acts of kindness’ through our micro-volunteering model. This supports our continued efforts to build connections between older people in Care Homes and local communities and promote healthier communities within Essex. In recent weeks our small Team Fans, supported by our Trustee Board, have been adapting our ways of connecting and communicating using both technology and good old fashioned ‘pen and paper’.

Fans Network

The Wishing Washing Line is our most famous creation. It’s a simple concept – to share resident’s wishes which can be granted by local people – our FaNs. The Care Home residents’ lives are enhanced. Self-worth and identity are reinforced through meaningful engagement with the wider community. The volunteer FaNs of all ages as individuals or via organisations also benefit.  New relationships develop from shared interests. A one-off wish granted can often lead to regular visits.  We work with over 90 Essex Care Homes and also have many requests from outside Essex from those who seek to replicate our successes in their own communities. Where wishes can be granted within the Government Covid-19 rules we will continue to offer online sharing of wishes until normal service can be resumed. We want to #makeeverymomentcount!

Here is a small selection of the Wishing Washing Line wishes being granted:

Fans network

Many Care Home residents really miss having pets and FaNimals visits are really popular. Intergenerational opportunities and Youth involvement within Care Homes are particularly encouraged, as is a little friendly competition between Care Homes with our popular Bake-off events. Some of this contact is now being maintained using technology, and through ‘Pen Pal’ schemes. Our FaNs are very creative and many care home residents are excited having been introduced to technology options for the very first time.

Fans Network

Alongside local individuals and groups such as Choirs, Dance groups, Fire and Police Cadets, Scouts, Cubs, Brownies and Guides, Essex University Students Union and Church groups, we have over 25 schools regularly involved as well as 3 ‘UP’ Projects with pre-school groups – and that’s just the community connections we know about! Other initiatives, inspired by our FaNs concepts spring up all the time around Essex.

Last year we were shortlisted in the Innovation category of the Essex ‘Who Will Care’ Awards, and won the Social Media category for our positive use of Facebook in connecting communities via our FaNs Network.  Our FaNs initiatives work has shown itself to be high impact – low cost. Essex Care Home Managers report that participation in FaNs has resulted in improvements in Residents’ health and well-being, requiring fewer ambulance call outs and hospital admissions.

Fans Network

We’d love you to choose FaNs Network – My Home Life Community as your nominated cause. Even small amounts add up to help us maintain our Team FaNs and charity costs. Please also look at our Facebook page to see more of our work.

Thank you!

Fans Network


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