The New Year sees most people make a few resolutions. A simple but effective one would be for everyone to do more for their community, especially where it can help elderly, lonely and vulnerable people. A few thoughts from Side by Side Care…
Side by Side Care staff are out and about around Cheshire communities every day. Our care givers visit service users’ homes and also help clients to attend events, meetings and appointments in the towns and villages where they live. Sometimes, even with those regular visits, people need a bit more.
The little things in life make a huge difference. When like-minded people act together, you can become a real force for good and transform the lives of those around you. For some people in the community, that will mean a lot.
With council budgets increasingly under pressure, sometimes it takes a volunteer force to transform an area. Speak to councillors and adopt an area of garden, form a “friends” group, help out at the local park, do some planting, and keep on top of the litter so that everyone can enjoy the facility as it should be.
Of course the local authority should be doing these tasks, and they do, but a top-up community initiative can achieve much more. It becomes a social occasion, and it enables sometimes isolated people to get involved no matter what their ability. Best of all, providing a beautiful outdoor space means there is somewhere for members of the community to meet, sit and relax.
Share your skills
We all have a talent. Why not make 2018 the year you empower others? That could mean teaching others to dance, swim or make a garden shed. There are no limits or boundaries, but presenting your skills to community groups will add to the social calendar, allow some to gain certificates and qualifications, and get people working on projects together.
If you can extend this to working one-to-one with someone who is housebound, just contact the person concerned, the caregiver or a family member to make sure that it’s safe and convenient to do so.
The old classic, but still effective. A coffee, cup of tea and a biscuit go a long way towards breaking down barriers and getting people together. Too many of us sit behind mobile phone and computers, so spending an hour with others enjoying a drink can really build community bonds.
Whether you meet at local centres, churches, scout huts or at each other’s homes, nobody should feel excluded. Form coffee groups based on shared experiences or hobbies, or just meet to discuss the hot community topics of the day.
Whatever you do, involve those who otherwise feel isolated or struggle getting to conventional events. Knock on doors and ask. Offer lifts to local events. Make 2018 the year that communities starting working together again.
Always together, always side by side…