I think it’s fair to say there are a lot of people feeling very disillusioned and right now. I get it – I’m one of them. The Friday 13th result represents a devastating blow for many, and anxiety looms large. But, as I’ve posted a couple of times on social media, we can reframe our disenchantment and use this opportunity to show some community spirit by helping others less fortunate than ourselves. There’s a great quote which is particularly poignant right now:
Someone once told me growth and comfort do not coexist. And I think it’s a really good thing to remember.Ginni Rometty
I find that comforting, especially as I’m seeing evidence of its truth all over social media right now – and it’s inspiring. This is my first step towards action, because buoying though those posts are, without the deed to back it up, it means little.
Community Spirit Can Be Healing
So, take the time to feel the feelings, acknowledge them – embrace them even, if you must – and then channel Elsa and let it go. Because that anger, frustration, and sadness can be directed towards far healthier and more constructive campaigns and humanitarian efforts. They don’t have to be huge gestures; in fact, they likely won’t be at the grass roots level I’m talking about.
But keep in mind that the quickest, most effective route to happiness and fulfilment is through altruism.
If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.Booker T. Washington
There are many ways to get involved and there are many reasons to do so. It may be that you can no longer trust or depend on your government to look after your neighbourhood’s best interests, but that’s no reason to give up on your community – it’s the opposite! Now is the time to fight for those less able, be the voice of those with none, teach your children how to do better than our generation and those before – and, as a happy side effect, feel a little better about the bleakness so many of us are experiencing.
By proactively doing good, we can bring about positive change; we can accomplish those things we wish for but no longer believe are a priority for those with the capacity to implement improvements on a grand scale. By pulling together we can still make headway.
Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.Ryunosuke Satoro
Community Spirit Ideas to Contribute to Your Neighbourhood
Feeling compelled to make a difference locally? Here are some ideas to get get you started:
- Buy a few extra items in your local shop and drop them into the dedicated trolley for the local food bank;
- Offer to help out at events for your child’s school;
- Help to fundraise for them too;
- Buy a hot drink for the homeless person you see regularly in your town;
- Go through your wardrobes at home and donate anything you no longer wear;
- Set up a standing order to a charity close to your heart;
- Take a hot meal to your vulnerable elderly neighbour;
- Support local independent shops;
- Enquire about penpal schemes with residents in local old people’s homes;
- If you have spare time, volunteer;
- And in my case and others in my industry, when able, help campaign for those less privileged than we are…
I’ve had an email sitting in my inbox for some time. I’ve been waiting to find the time to get it. Today is that day.
A Contribution to My Local Community, and One Further Afield
Do you recall the Essex lorry deaths which were heartbreakingly discovered in October of this year? At the time of writing, the case is ongoing. It transpires that the grieving families of those poor deceived Vietnamese people are unable to afford to have their bodies returned home. After the horrifying circumstances of the victims’ deaths (which disrupted their entry to the human trafficking system for which they were destined), they won’t even have the dignity of being laid to rest with their families.
A lady standing to gain nothing but a sense of having tried to facilitate a degree of humanity and respect for the deceased, is campaigning to raise funds to help pay for the funerals their families cannot afford, and clear the debts incurred from their treacherous journey.
Marie reached out to me and other influencers to help raise awareness of their efforts. I’ve intended doing something to assist, which is why I’ve never deleted the email; I just hadn’t found the time until now. So today I’ve made the time.
You can donate here (GoFundMe page since taken down).
It’s an appalling situation for those people to find themselves in, and while this doesn’t relate to our local community, what Marie doesn’t know if that I used to work in shipping. Not only that, but I was located in Tilbury – just a stone’s throw from where the bodies were recovered.
This particular campaign is not, at its heart, for our local community (where my personal efforts will be focused going forward); nonetheless, it’s worthy (and has touched my local neighbourhood and old colleagues). And I feel better for having done something tiny for those people, and Marie will hopefully feel better that she has too, and her pleas have not gone unheard.
Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.Helen Keller
It’s about doing what we can, whether financially, with our time, or with our platforms. It’s about a shift in attitude from feeling defeated, to choosing not to simply give up.
Looking Forward and Championing Hope
Enough of being polarised. Enough of the cheap shots and the mudslinging and the bitterness. Let’s not be beaten. Let’s accept it may not start at the top, but at home. Let’s take accountability for our own roles in piecing our society back together, and unite to create a country we can be proud of once again. It starts with us.
None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.Mother Teresa
If we can agree on anything, it should be that all of us, no matter our political inclinations, merely want a comfortable life. With a little community spirit, we can all contribute towards this.