What we all really need is a small project! – Community Matters

By Sally Farrant, Community Builder for Shiphay & The Willows

There’s a weariness to this lockdown.

Last spring, we pulled together to beat the virus. We had a common purpose. The Thursday nights clap for the NHS brought neighbours together. Residents in Edginswell brought out chairs and drinks. Flecher Close in Shiphay learned an exercise routine together.

This time, our goal seems less within reach and motivation is difficult. Psychologists talk about this as ‘learned helplessness’ – when our brains lose energy in response to inescapable stress. I call it ‘lockdown brain’. Apparently, our way forward is making tiny steps and small connections.

Is there a small project you could begin today? Who could you share it with?

Hilary in Shiphay has begun knitting little colourful flowers and butterflies. She wraps each in a clear bag and leaves it on a bench with a rhyme ‘I’m not lost but I’m alone. If I make you smile, take me home!’. Others find and keep it, posting a photo on Facebook. It’s easier to take these little steps in company and this is still possible in lockdown.

The Thursday morning coffee group in The Willows raised funds for Torbay Food Alliance by carol singing at the end of each other’s garden path. Peer support group StepOne help each other overcome their lack of technical experience to join online activities, quizzes and mental health courses. Even at a distance, connection is meaningful.

When Peekaboo Nursery mirrored the exercise class for senior citizens in Shiphay’s Kitson Park, delighted smiles crossed both the grass and the generations. Christmas cards from children in the Shiphay Learning Academy crossed the water to cheer staff on the Queen Mary cruise liner. Is there a small project you could begin today? Who could you share it with?

Hazel began knitting squares and now people in Ellacombe, Preston and The Willows have joined her to make blankets. Community is what we make when we include someone else in our project.

Torbay Community Builders are here to help you connect even in lockdown. Give me a ring on 07548 704 878, or send me a text, or email me sallyfarrant@torbaycdt.org.uk