A Helping Hand

This entire situation is completely unprecedented, and none of us (I think) have quite managed to grasp the magnitude of what is happening. What is important to remember though is that although it isn’t exactly fun being stuck in the house with nothing to do, there are plenty of people in a worse position. I am very lucky in that I don’t live alone, and therefore at least I have company. Some people are not so fortunate, and that is the entire point of this post. Whilst we live in a world that is more and more connected, there are still plenty of people that do not rely on technology for socialising and therefore are completely socially isolated, potentially for 12 weeks or more.

Over the coming days, weeks and months, it is more important than ever that communities come together, families stay in touch, and that we are all considerate in our actions. Whilst I am by no means an angel, I feel as though Sarah and I are at least trying to do our bit. We popped a note through our elderly neighbour’s door to let them know that if they need anything, they can just call round or phone me. Thankfully, they have taken us up on the offer a few times now and therefore have protected themselves from any unnecessary risk. More than that though, it is important that they know they are not alone through this.

I have been absolutely overwhelmed with the amount of support I have been shown since the start of this lockdown. Friends have messaged to check in, family have offered to share supplies, and people have offered (and been taken up on the offer) to go shopping for us, and I think that is a true sign of the world that we live in; it’s not all bad. Whilst I can’t see this ending any time soon, I am not worried as I know I have plenty of willing and able people who are kind enough to offer their help. As I can’t do the things i would like to and help in the way I wish I could, I’d like to at least help by offering some ideas for those of you struggling yourself, or know someone who is.

In situations like this, tech is very much our friend. Apps such as HouseParty, Zoom or even plain old FaceTime are great; where a phone call is lovely, that extra dimension of seeing someone’s face is infinitely better especially when someone is stuck in isolation. If anyone needs help setting anything up, then feel free to get in touch with me! most of these things are free, which is a bonus. The only issue is that they require a smartphone or tablet. Skype does still exist, and is a brilliant platform, however the issue with that at the moment is that due to everyone working from home, office essentials such as webcams are difficult to come by.

Facebook is becoming an extremely useful tool at the moment too. There are many community action groups, all designed to put those with needs in touch with those with means. The way in which these groups seem to mostly work is by people posting what they can do, and then those with needs can get in touch. Another common formula is one central director/s control the team of volunteers, and distribute the work as it comes in. Thankfully I have not needed to access such a group yet, however i am extremely appreciative of them being there, and I am in awe of those giving up their time to help others during this national crisis. If this sounds interesting, please check out https://covidmutualaid.org/ as this resource lists most of the community groups available.

For those less inclined to use technology, nothing is better than a handwritten letter. The World Health Organisation has stated that the risk of infection from things like letters and parcels is minimal, so hand delivering a letter to someone who would otherwise have no interaction is no risk to anyone.

Finally, I would like to say that if anyone needs a chat, my inbox is always open. Mental health is a serious consideration in situations like this, and we must all take steps to ward off cabin fever and loneliness. Hopefully it won’t be much longer and we can all get back to what we love and know, but with much more mindfulness for those of us without anyone to talk to.

It may be an iPad, but I have a feeling it may still need to come with instructions…

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