Working in a pandemic

Today I wanted to share my experiences of working through the pandemic and running a community project. To start with it has been an honour and a privilege to support our fellow humans. As a keyworker, I have been able to do this.

We started our community project in May 2019, offering groups to vulnerable people. However, as Covid struck, this wasn;t possible and we reinvented ourselves. This began as an experiment with a rusty clothes rail and has proven to be very worthwhile, with possibly over 2000 people helped, directley and indirectly.

One lovely man comes and takes things for his neighbours and friends; curtains to put over doors, towels and even plates. Another person has said how invaluable our service has been. A homeless man came yesterday and walked out looiking really smart in a lovely new coat. We have been able to help people look and feel fgood about themselves, redistributiung unwanted goods and saving waste too.

Recycling is very close to my heart and we try to throw away as little as possible. Stained clothing may be washed and I have only ever thrown away one item which seemed to have blood on it which I felt warranted a bin. Even broken toys find new homes-one child happily took a push along toy missing a wheel. We are so often about ythe new and perfect and perhaps we just need to be a little more open to reusing slighly damaged things and upcycling. It is a new way of life and a new way of thinking. We even have people take second hand glasses which was a huge surprise to me!

People don’t just come for clothes; they like a chat and feeling part of a community. We meet outside and people can choose how much or little they want to take. This gives dignity. It is essentially a free charity shop model. People are struggling on Universal Credit and it means they can givce their families nice clothes and shoes and toys and bedding.

I feel that clothing banks are very much needed at this time. People in the UK are really battling poverty, but they don’t wear a badge to announce it (and why should they?)

Let me have your thoughts regarding this and please feel free to disagree. I am interested in people’s views from other nations in regard to this.

Thank you for reading. I wish you all a wonderful weekend X

Many hope lessons in Covid

Today I am going to post twice, as I had a little break and this will cover the missing posts over the past four days. So I wanted to share about my Covid experience and hope lessons I have learned.

  1. Change direction.

The pandemic has brought many things to a grinding halt. This is really sad. However closed doors mean other doors can open. I will nevcer forget the experiment I did one day with a rusty clothes rail and a few second hand clothes. This was the beginning of the burgeoning enterprise that is now our clothing bank. I posted a while back on how big things start small and this is an example. We have a lovely team of volunteers and we are clothing many of the most vulnerable in our community.

2. Be brave

I think changing direction takes courage. It is hard sometimes to say farewell to an old path, but is is necessary. Life is about twists and turns and transitions. Be courageous and take that step towards a new challenge. And don’t look back.

3. Don’t let others define you

I have dyspraxia and with this come many challenges, primarily; organisation and structure. But I don’t let others’ views of me define me, hard as it is sometimes. I battle through and do what I feel called to do.

4. Do research

This may seem a bit unusual, but with the helath service stretched, I feel I need to take responsibility for my own health and wellbeing. I am reading about how to keep healthy (see Lady D’s for an excellent blog on health and mental wellbeing) and I read a lot. I feel that it is important to take regular exercise, eat well and I also take vitamin D daily. That is my view. I also spend a lot of time outside and host the clothing bank outside, because that is safe. And so far so good. I have been well over the past few monthgs, which is a rela blessing (apart from falling over which was an unfortunate accident).

5. Relax and rest

I don’t know about everyone else, but I think pandemics are exhausting. There i8s a barrage of negative news hurling itself at us daily and this is psychologically wearing. I think it is relaly important to rest and do little fun things like reading. I have read many books this year and will write a post on that soon. I find just lying down and ‘having a good think’ as I like to call it re-energises me.

Do you have any top tips for surviving the pandemic? Please share.

Today’s recipe of hope is to choose one of the above and put it into practice. And do let me know what you think. Keep safe everybody X

Life is full of surprises!

I have just watched a programme about the Australian bush fires. Little did I think when I went to see my family in Sydney for Christmas and New Year, that I would be living through a state of National Emergency.

My sister’s pets were evacuated at one point and we had a beautiful rag doll cat called Oscar staying with us. I remember reading the fire warnings most days and the heading ‘catastrophic would flash up’.

I was so privileged to get in the front row for the Sydney fireworks and saw the New Year in with a literal bang. I sensed that this was the last time I would do this and cherished the moment.

Then I returned to the UK on 19th January. I heard some strange news reports about a weird virus hitting Sydney. I returned to the UK and then the pandemic became real.

So I have lived through a National Emergency in Australia and a worldwide pandemic. And I am still full of hope. I have had some immense challenges in my personal life too, but I think I am pretty resilient. And my lovely Guardian Angel Hope has been with me through it all.

Life is full of surprises and we are tougher than we think. Today’s recipe of hope is to celebrate your inner strength and if you have a Christian faith then say a prayer of thanks to God for your strength from Him. And let’s remember those brave firefighters across the world who have given their lives to keep us safe X