As time has gone on the phrase “the new normal” has been used a lot. This crisis at some point will stop being a crisis and will just become normal. That may seem scary but actually it’s a great opportunity to reinvent your approach to life and especially to community.
How can you hold together a community when you can’t even meet? Well, to help you keep that community spirit or build it back up again we have tried to put together a few ideas for you to try out. You will know the people around you best, you know your community, so please use that knowledge to find ways to engage everyone. We really are all in this together, so why not meet it face on with laughter and community?
You don’t need to be a sewing expert to give the NHS a hand during this crisis. If you search for your local hospital’s website they should be advertising whether they are in need of facemasks or not.
If they don’t need masks, then please consider donating to your nearest St Vincent's community shop. You can find your nearest shop here. Our shops remain closed to the public, but we are currently planning how to safely re-open our community shops in the coming weeks and months.
If you have access to a sewing machine then this tutorial here will help you make the best masks you can. If you just want to make facemasks for you or your families use then there are a few simpler methods below:
- Handkerchief Method
- T-shirt Sleeve Method
- Quick T-shirt Method
With all this time we are now spending at home what a great opportunity we have to spring clean. Many are digging through boxes under beds and clothes at the back of cupboards.
Why not donate your long lost and surplus items to your local St Vincent's community shop when it reopens? Find your nearest community shop here. Thank you for holding onto your donations in the meantime and we look forward to seeing you when we can safely re-open in line with government guidelines.
Alternatively, you could share some of your second-hand items. You could place a box containing clingfilmed items that you no longer need along with a sign asking people to take and leave a donation if they wish. Turn your dusty finds into another person’s smile.
Do you enjoy knitting or crocheting? Well, some hospitals around the country have been asking people for items to help bring a little more humanity to their work. Please check your local hospital’s website for information or send them an email asking if any of the below would be helpful:
- Could you knit or crochet sets of knitted love hearts, one for the patient and one for their family? This enables them, despite the distance and isolation, to hold the heart of their loved one. An example can be see here.
- Could you crochet small teddies of NHS workers so that they can be sold to raise money for the NHS? A link to the pattern can be found here.
Could you knit or crochet pin badges for workers to wear on their PPE to make them seem a little more friendly to those they help? You can see an example below.
If your local hospital is not interested or you would like to create something different, then we would be delighted to receive these at our SVP shops. Please find your nearest shop here.
Just like the SVP in Chelmsford, running music lessons by Zoom, you could spread your knowledge by offering classes or tutorials by video conference. Whether your skill is languages, cooking, DIY, history or gardening, why not share? Keep your ear to the ground as the SVP will be running online sessions to help members use all the capabilities Zoom video conferencing has to offer.
You will no doubt have seen some of the many people who will sit in their front gardens with a cup of tea greeting the people that walk past. If you didn’t fancy being outside you could even put a sign up asking people to wave to you as you sit in your front room. The weather is shaping up to give us a blistering summer so why not get a tan and make some new friends?
Here is a great example of Linda in Beccles combating her isolation and inspiring the community around her:
Have you considered just offering to lend a hand to others around you? You could offer to walk their dog, do some light gardening, top up their bird feeders or clean their windows. You could also make handmade birthday cards for those with special days coming up and even sing them happy birthday from your front door. Just please remember to look after yourself and avoid going into other people's houses.
Ever wondered if someone is watching the same film or TV programme as you? Well, why wonder when you can set up a watch party? You could set a time and a livestream for a Sunday Mass with your community so you can all tune in together. You may not be able to sit side by side but your prayers can still rise together. Alternatively, you could set up a film night and all agree to watch a particular film at the same time one evening. Then you could talk about it by WhatsApp or text.
Many of you will be itching to get the jam, scones and Earl Grey out this summer and you still can. Why not drop some cakes, scones or other savoury delights off at other houses along with a time and date? Then you can all enjoy the same luxury at the same time. If you had the ability you could even enjoy your cuppa with everyone over video conference.
Why not hold a cooking or baking competition? You could agree to all bake or make a similar meal, swap cakes or meals, give each person a rating and total the scores to see who the best cook is.
We have heard of many people holding quizzes by video conference or telephone but you can also try bingo. You could hold a street bingo evening by popping bingo sheets through everyone in the road’s letter boxes along with a date and time. Then you just need to use a microphone to shout the numbers out at the appropriate time. We're included some resources below that might be useful: