More than ever this week seems to be about bringing people together rather than worrying about our own individual concerns, about celebrating what we have in common rather than that which divides us.
As one of my local election candidates said ‘We are opponents not enemies’ or another ‘he’s wrong, but he’s still a nice guy’.
As founder of Coffee Companions I was privileged to go the launch of the film ‘Lorna’ by the Marmalade Trust on Tuesday evening – a powerful short portrayal of how a lack of social contact can impact someone, how the little things can make a big difference and how someone can put a brave public face on their private misery. The Marmalade Trust were launching Loneliness Awareness Week which should make us all think about those that might like a simple smile or ‘Hello’ as well as our ensuring we value our own connections.
National Carers week is a good chance to think of those that might have become isolated because of their caring responsibilities – could you offer to go and sit with a neighbours loved one so that they can get out for a short break, or see whether you can add a pint of milk for them to your own shopping list?
National Care Home Open day is a chance to connect with the professional care sector and see the great work that they do. It is worth noting that around 1 in 5 people are growing old without children to support or visit them – maybe today is the day to say Hello to residents that don’t normally get visitors or take a neighbour to visit a friend they haven’t seen in a while.
For those that prefer to keep things close to home this weekend is of course Fathers Day with the chance to celebrate being part of a family. You may prefer to join with other fathers and the wider community for the Great Get Together. The Big Lunch run by Eden Communities has this year linked with the Jo Cox Foundation to suggest people get together with neighbours to share food and good company following the anniversary of Jo’s murder. Jo has become increasingly remembered, thanks to her husband Brendan (and father to their two children), for celebrating what we have in common rather than that which divides us. The Great Get Together, or a Big Iftar, provides an opportunity for celebration and creating some new connections – new connections build healthy communities – the vision of Coffee Companions.