“Anyone who has touched a photo in remembrance”…
…This is a line from a poem called “The questions they don’t ask on the census” by Henry Normal.
I heard it on the radio the other day when the poet was talking about Communication. He wondered, with all the forms of communication today and the fact that we can even talk to machines like Alexa and Siri, why there are people who still feel lonely?
As I was pondering about this, an email popped in reminding me that Sunday 3 October is Silver Sunday, the national day for older people. This was first launched to tackle loneliness and isolation. Now it is a national day of fun and free activities helping older people make new connections, visit new places and try new activities (such as Basingstoke Sports Centre’s Get Active Day).
But, of course, we don’t have to wait for a special day to reach out. Nor is it just older people who might be experiencing loneliness. It can hit anyone at any time. We have all been impacted in some way by the last 18 months, but for some the impact has clearly been devastating. There are those who are grieving, those who have lost the confidence to leave their homes, those who feel completely overwhelmed by the news and statistics, those whose lives have been thrown into chaos.
A simple act of kindness or connecting for a moment with someone may make all the difference to that person. During lockdown, a friend left rock buns or scones on the doorsteps of neighbours who were self-isolating. One man, who is now on his own, started to reciprocate and has, apparently, become a great baker of flapjacks and cup cakes . In his own words “she inspired me to try something new and this is helping to keep me busy and gives me a purpose to my day”.
Action Hampshire and CPRE Hampshire’s Rural Conference this year will be celebrating how the county’s rural communities came together to make sure that everyone was supported during the worst of the pandemic.
There were small and large acts of kindness taking place every day. It is this community spirit, resourcefulness and resilience that meant many were able to stay safe in their homes and which helped take some pressure off health and social care services. We will also be looking forward and exploring how we can build on this activity and remain stronger together to face the challenges of the future. Action Hampshire and CPRE Hampshire we would love it if individuals, parish councillors, members of voluntary or community groups, local authority officers – in fact anyone who has an interest in rural Hampshire – could join us at Littleton Village Hall on Tuesday 19 October 10:00 to 13:00 for this year’s Rural Conference.
If you have any questions or queries, do contact Kevin Sawers on 01962 857358 or firstname.lastname@example.org