Compassion in Covid-19 times

Covid-19 struck in terms of lockdown in March 2020. There were many practical challenges that impacted almost all of us. How to adjust our lives to fit with unprecedented restrictions on freedom of movement and freedom to associate. 

Schools close, offices closed, home working (if possible) became the new normal. Life changed and even those already housebound were impacted by fewer visits and masked faces. The ability to care was hampered, not least for people wanting to visit their loved ones in care homes and hospitals. It became No, No, No.

Even our Sheds closed!

However, need is the mother of invention and Whitby (and most other places) became very resourceful at refusing to accept “No”. Traders looked at the problem they and customers had – never the twain shall meet. If you cannot leave home to come to us, we will come to you. Our restaurant is closed but we will start takeaway menus to eat at home. Where can we find flour or toilet rolls? The Stronger Together in Whitby during Covid-19 Facebook site sprang up and became a source of enquiry and practical help. A platform to communicate and share “solutions”.

The unusual has somehow become quite usual. We almost instinctively weave a merry distancing dance on pavements and in stores. We came together in practicing distancing and in the use of face masks. – how strange! Why? To protect each other – respect to those we know and to strangers too. Eye contact was the only contact.

Covid-19 has been a great challenge. A difficult time with difficult outcomes for young people at crucial exam stages, the local and national economy and certainly many belts needing to be tightened already or in the future.

Whitby Community Alliance has brought the voluntary sector closer, although that was initiated just before Covid-19 hit. It was a revisited idea and this time it seems to have taken root and is finding ways to help each other and those in the community we serve in different ways.

Compassion has been experienced, though actually it has always been there. It is neighbour to neighbour and often unrecorded and unseen. 

Whitby Community’s Compassion project is taking shape, thanks to the inside knowledge of Frome and their willingness to help us by sharing their experience.

What happened to Frome’s Compassion under Covid-19? Were they in some way prepared by their project? 

Below is a link to 11 Covid-19 video recorded accounts from Frome. Recorded on the hoof so sound quality is impacted. These also give a sense of the togetherness Frome has. 

The wind and rain showed no compassion

The wind heavy rain of just over a week ago wrought havoc on the SAMS Shed Lounge (aka the gazebo). Torrential rain took one corner out under the weight of water that caused the roof to bulge. Bob and Graham managed to rescue it somewhat but what was clear was it would not survive the winter or  probably even the autumn!

Gumtree to the rescue and a second hand caravan awning that will act like a lean to and direct the water down the slope to the front. Picking up Saturday. 

It even has curtains. We can start doing holiday lets on days when the Shed is not on! It might make a more comfortable dog house for Graham also.

Somewhere, over the rainbow . . .

Graham’s been caravanning this week. Look at this beautiful full rainbow. Which end is the gold?

Here’s an article some robot browser has put into my in-tray, compassionately

What it says is what we’ve found with the Sheds and is the basis it will not surprise it is an outcome basis of the initiative for Whitby Community’s Compassion.project. Someone said the other day it is about culture change. Indeed, it is deep change which is not delivered quickly by programmed actions or reactions. It is bottom up in people discovering its benefits.

The article addresses empathy and compassion and the difference between the two. Not a long article but it is worth the reading.

Ronseal, hand sanitizer, ash, Big Boy’s Don’t Cry

A box of hand sanitiser arrived courtesy of Ronseal’s partnership with UKMSA. Sheddie Eddie provided information on a stash of ash wood for turning. A hard copy arrived of a book of case studies of men’s mental health that one of our Shedders part sponsored arrived. Available to Shedders or others read. Many individual stories.

Going for Whitby Community’s Compassion project. 

There’s sufficient support in terms of encouragement to move with compassion.

Here is an advanced draft (not the final!) of an Opinion piece in the this weeks Whitby Gazette.  It very much reflects the heart of our Sheds. In our own way we try to do each other good, not least in our banter. Laughter is the Best Medicine Readers’ Digest used to write.

We have worked quite widely beyond the normal boundaries of a Shed and taken us into working with other projects that are focused on helping people, sometimes people who are Shedders. 

It will start under the Sheds as an initial umbrella but it will be a separate collaborative action with others. If all goes well then possibly by the summer 2021 it will be a separate independent charity.

In the next couple of weeks there will be a separate web-site to carry news and information on the Compassion Project. If a Shedder knows of anyone interested in helping with this or in any other way, please put them on to me! We shall also be producing a triple-fold leaflet to describe the project’s raison d’etre (in English, not French).

Gazette piece 10-9-2020


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