As part of our new initiative to keep our communities strong and safe, we’ve launched Community Cheer, our new online resource that’s filled with positive stories and updates from communities up and down the country. We’ll be highlighting local stories as well as featuring book reviews, ideas for activities and other useful tips for keeping the mind and body busy. This new positive space will give you the opportunity to share your ideas and connect with others around you at a time when isolation and loneliness are rife. You can visit Community Cheer here.
Support your local shops
This is a difficult time for our country but it’s important to think about local businesses when it comes to buying groceries. Shops, pubs and butchers are adapting how they do business and are a critical resource in serving and delivering to those who are less able or at risk.
Support the isolated
Rural communities are incredibly proud and self-reliant so some people may find it difficult to ask for help. There are many great ideas circulating on the internet detailing how people can signal whether they need support in any capacity. From setting up a telephone tree or a community WhatsApp group to keep in touch with other, to simple cards in windows, there’s something that’ll work for every community. But please remember, not everyone has access to the internet so be sure to make use of village newsletters and noticeboards as well as making letter drops through doors to check on those most vulnerable.
Use social media
Many rural communities have a website or Facebook page – use them – and if you don’t, setting up a community Facebook page is a simple and easy way for those in your community to keep up to date with one another from a safe distance. On these pages you can share the latest information from any changes in the shops opening hours, the pubs takeaway menu to ideas on how to keep well in these difficult times. You can also use Facebook Messenger video-chat as a great way to bring the community together from birthday parties and knit and natter clubs to running local meetings.
The internet enables us to connect, meet and socialise from the comfort of our home in a way that we’ve never been able to before. So, anything you did in your community before, you can now move online – from drinks with friends and dining out to attending your parish council meetings, this can all be done online using Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp video calls.
We must all listen to the Government advice on how to stay well to avoid COVID-19 whilst also looking after the general and mental health of ourselves and each other.
There are some great initiatives happening online that encourage exercise for the body, mind and soul whilst in self-isolation. From PE classes with online fitness coach, Joe Wicks which streams live from his YouTube channel at 9am each morning to Sofa Singing with James Sills where you can join a 45 minute choir lesson from the comfort of your own home alongside others from a host of different countries. We must also remember however, how important it is to get outside whilst effectively practicing social distancing.
Mental health support
Times of uncertainty can cause many of us to experience anxiety, increase our stress levels and cause depression. These emotions are quite understandable, but you must remember you are not alone and there is plenty of support available. If you would like to speak to someone please use the Yellow Wellies directory which comprises of national and local support groups who specialize in farming and rural communities. View a list of other mental health helplines here.