This is a time where we have to come together as a local community and worldwide community to look after, support and help those around us.
As everyone is aware, we are currently in the midst global pandemic which is having devastating consequences for everyone across the World. I hope everyone is well, keeping safe and following government advice. For every person there are different impacts, whether you are suffering from the symptoms, knows someone who is suffering, have lost business or clients or have had events and occasions planned and changed. This is a time where we have to come together as a community and worldwide to look after, support and help those around us.
I wanted to come on and give some tips on things that you can do throughout this period which can help support our local communities.
Supporting local businesses wherever possible. Now I am not saying this should be an everyday occurrence, but sometimes self-care is about indulging in your favourite meal. While restaurants, cafes and bars are shut for the general public, at the time of writing, there is still the option to have takeaways. Many are now doing home deliveries too. Our local Italian restaurant did 2 for 1 on pizza takeaways which made for the perfect treat for our family as we didn’t have to cook! But also helped a local community by boosting their income in these financially uncertain times.
Promoting local businesses. While shops are likely to be physically shut over the coming weeks – they still exist online. Share and like their posts on Facebook or Twitter, leave a comment on their Instagram posts, tag a friend and help spread the word, buy a gift card and redeem it later on. Try not to cancel any bookings – just postpone them for the time being. If they have online shops, it may be worth buying things from these shops rather than big retailers such as Amazon.
Writing postcards, letters or sending photos to nursing homes. A local nursing home pointed out that despite not being able to have visitors, they would really appreciate people sending letters or postcards or drawings. This is a way that can help bring the community together and you may end up with a long-term pen pal! It’s also a lovely activity to involve children in and a great opportunity to get creative.
Financial donation. While not everyone is in the situation to be able to donate financially, there may be a particular local or national charity that means a lot to you or is doing great work in your community. During times like this, it is important to continue to show your appreciation and gratitude for what they do. Normally, as a family, we would go regularly into our local charity shops and do our bit where we can. Instead, we’ll consider a small financial contribution (even if it’s a few pounds), just to show that we’re thinking of them.
Reaching out to (virtually) to family and friends. As mentioned earlier, for the elderly or those with underlying health conditions this is a scary time! For us, we had plans to celebrate our Grandad’s 80th birthday, as well as our Grandma’s birthday the following month, both of which we have had to cancel. While this is sad, we recognize it is for the best as we wouldn’t want to put anyone at danger. Instead, send a simple email, call them up or organise a group Facetime session to see how they are. Check in, see how they are doing and ask if you can do anything to help – from organising a food delivery to setting up a Netflix or Audible subscription. They may just be pleased to know that someone is thinking of them.
Food banks. Currently, some people are running around stocking up and bulk buying food. It’s worth taking the time to consider what it must be like for those who do not have this luxury. As the government have said, we will not run out of food. I had recently done a week’s shop at University and soon after received an email closing my University. I realised I was in a position where I had lots of dried and canned food which I wouldn’t have been able to carry with me. My housemates and I ended up going to a local foodbank to donate our food. We had a whole bag full of fresh fruit and vegetables, snacks and canned fruits. When you are doing your next shop - pick up one or two extra things you wouldn’t usually buy and put them in the donations box. They will be hugely grateful in this time of uncertainty.
Offering your services. If you are in a position where are you able to offer your services or skills virtually, then make the most of it! This could be everything from offering to do a Instagram/Facebook live on your area of expertise, drawing up a downloadable colouring in sheet, to offering to be a virtual PA. With the schools being closed it can be a difficult and worrying times for parents so offering to step in online can make a world of difference.
I hope you find these tips helpful and let us know if you put any of them in to action. In the meantime, please follow government advice and I hope you all stay safe, warm, healthy and happy.