Don’t let’s wait for others to do it for us!
Our Senior Engagement Officer, Jo Dixon blogs about taking action to tackle loneliness together…
“I was taken by the power that savouring a cup of coffee can have to connect people and create community” (the words of Howard Schultz – no this isn’t a blog about Starbucks). However, if you substitute apple juice for coffee, these words could have been said about the Apple Day celebrations where I live. As I drew breath on what can only be described as a hectic afternoon, I was struck by how many people, of all ages, were at the village hall, connecting, chatting, enjoying the activities and having fun together.
Recently we’ve been hearing about the numbers of people who feel often or very lonely (Radio 4: The Anatomy of Loneliness). Lots of words, even a national strategy document, have been written about this and the Government has appointed a Minister for Loneliness. I would like to suggest that it is time for us to think about the small actions that we can take to bring people together and help overcome some of the feelings of loneliness. I think of this as “the power of the community” (or if you prefer “people power”).
Apple Day is just one of a number of (small) events that take place in the village. It helps us connect with our neighbours, meet new people and have catch ups over tea and cake. Yes, it takes a bit of organising. Yes, it relies on people giving their time to help out. Yes, success does depend to some extent on the weather (this year the sun shone). However, when you see so many people enjoying themselves, you know it is worthwhile.
Today, digital technology also brings us together and helps make connections – but it can’t replace the warmness of a face-to-face chat over a slice of apple cake. I’m sure this is why events organised on Silver Sunday (always the first Sunday in October) were so popular – who could resist the opportunity to participate in dancing, football, cricket, art, walks, silent discos, bike rides, film shows, roast dinners, tai chi……….?
Whatever you want to do, it doesn’t have to be a big event nor does it need to cost much money. As we look forward to 2019 instead of just talking and writing about the extent of loneliness in society today, let’s all do something in our neighbourhoods and our villages to make a difference and “connect people and create community”. Don’t let’s wait for others to do it for us.
Click here to read about Action Hampshire’s research on Health and social isolation in Mid Hampshire