Small good stuff achieves great things
Keeping our communities going is more important than ever. Angela Catley from Community Catalysts, one of the organisations on TLAP’s directory of innovations in community-centred support, reflects on some of the local initiatives taking root.
In these last few weeks, we have all faced uncertainty about our future in a way we have never experienced before. ‘Self-isolation’ and ‘social distancing’ weren’t words in our vocabulary last month, yet now it’s all we are talking about. The coronavirus has had an impact on every single person in this country – and millions of others around the world. We all have fears of falling ill, job losses and crippling isolation from friends and family.
In these dark times, we all need to look for those little beacons of light as we strive to support each other as best we can. Sian Lockwood, our Chief Executive, recently chaired a webinar- bringing together people from the National Academy for Social Prescribing, people with lived experience, and the voluntary and community sector - to explore ways in which everyone can work together to help people ‘live the best life they can’. We shared examples of people and communities coming together to support each other, from the practical neighbourhood telephone trees to the joyful virtual yoga groups and tea parties.
Community Catalysts is thrilled to see the many creative ways that people are connecting with each other when face-to-face contact is not a safe option. Our ethos is deeply rooted in helping people support others in their communities and in this we know we have many allies of a like mind. In recent days we have been using our online community hub – Small Good Stuff and our members’ Facebook page – to share information with the many micro-enterprises we support (if you run a small enterprise please join us for free). We have shared Government advice and posted lots of articles covering topics from advice on sick pay if they’re unable to work, to accessing online learning. We have also been busy signposting people to local Covid19 community support groups – making sure they know how they can help locally if this is something they want to do.
We are starting to hear tales of Small Good Stuff members doing amazing things at this difficult time, such as Dance Syndrome in Lancashire who are offering daily accessible online dance classes, free to anyone who wants to join. Small Good Stuff has become our little beacon of light. You can see more examples on TLAP’s directory of community centred support that shine a light on a variety of community based approaches.
We know how worrying this time is for everyone. We also know that active citizens, local organisations, groups and businesses, including micro-enterprises, are the people who will keep our communities going and we have to help them remain positive. As Sian said, “We don’t know what the future will hold but we do know that our resilience and strength lie in people supporting people.”
We are supporting each other by sharing the many heart-warming stories of people helping people in the areas where they live and work. Each story lights a candle in the dark, so we are using the hashtag #brightlightsinadarkworld. Please join us by sharing your own stories of people and communities coming together so that we can light some candles together.