Here’s a thought.
What if coronavirus hadn’t happened?
Where would you have been half-way through 2020? How would you be feeling?
So much to smile about
Would you have heard about Captain Tom’s extraordinary fundraising efforts? Would you have been on your doorstep every Thursday night for weeks and weeks, clapping for carers across the country. Talking to neighbours you don’t see as you’re just too busy to stop and chat?
As a team we’ve been making great use of our Slack channels to share positive stories with each other, driving out the negativity that the newsfeeds carry. We believe in the value of love and laughter and we’ve enjoyed hearing all about creative approaches to boredom, physical and mental health challenges and ideas designed to boost resilience.
Communities coming together
One of the things that got us all interested here at Alive HQ was this postcard created by a lovely lady, Becky Wass, to support her local community. Her story and the #viralkindness campaign started the ball rolling for many community groups to boldly take action.
With the help of business groups, Scouting clubs, community associations and local churches many community hubs have been created, designed to do what Becky was suggesting, set up to feed those in most need, pick up shopping, prescriptions and necessities to make self-isolation for the vulnerable that little bit more bearable.
We’ve heard the great stories of strangers buying NHS staff their shopping and retailers changing their working hours to prioritise frontline workers. Thank you messages on bins for refuse collectors, rainbow drawings in windows and painted pebbles popping up with feel good messages like these ones in Southwood.
The heart and soul of our society
And there’s been so much more. More community-based and all created with the deepest sense of compassion that, it could be argued, our country has been missing in recent years. From groups like The Big Community Sew to Covid Mutual Aid creating a sense of community and neighbourliness we simply haven’t felt for some time.
Many of the people that start up these initiatives could be classed as our unsung heroes. The ones that are bringing community spirit, communication and happiness back to their towns and villages. Like Darren who set up Overton TV. A local TV show with music, information about COVID-19 from medical professionals, a platform for many to share stories, offer support and ask questions. A place to be heard and to feel they belong.
The sense of belonging and spirit of a community was evident when Alive worked with Derbyshire on their Derbyshire Spirit campaign. It was built to create a feeling that touched hearts and minds. That feeling you have, that when the chips are down, you pull together and make your community great again. We know this is the same sense of community that has helped everyone weather this storm.
A world of creativity
During the pandemic, arts and culture have become more accessible. Artists have been creating colouring resources to keep kids busy, museums have been turning their gallery pieces into online jigsaw puzzles, musicians have been hosting mini sessions with guest co-singers on social platforms. Theatre groups have given free access to musicals, operas, productions and pantos. Andrew Lloyd Webber being a prime example, as he released his shows for free. There has also been a chance to watch Shakespeare performances for free. Opening up access to those that couldn’t access them before or for younger children who might struggle to sit through a full-length show.
Sharing our strengths
We live in a wonderfully diverse society that has been playing to its strengths. We’ve watched programmes about the army of volunteers that have mobilised across the country. Celebrities like Ross Kemp report the stories of the thousands doing extraordinary things to help those in need. On professional channels like LinkedIn we’ve seen counsellors and coaches offering free support to NHS staff and other key workers. Businesses offering their skills to help other businesses and individuals alike.
We’ve loved seeing these positive stories being unearthed. We realise the journey to recovery as a country is still not over and we have some hard times ahead, but we are holding onto these great moments, of which we’ve no doubt there are countless other wonderful examples of people going above and beyond for their local communities during lockdown.