I finished last week’s blog with these five words about community: Connection, Participation, Nature, Fairness, and Dignity. These are core elements in a positive, united community. When those five things work in perfect harmony, you have a community that has a strong sense of wellbeing which counts for a huge amount.
During the recent lockdown, communities the length and breadth of the country stepped up to support each other. Its what communities do in a crisis – they rally round to support each other often because it is seen as the only way that things will happen. In reality, communities will support each other through good or bad, but still for that same underlying basis of necessity. Communities will always be looking out for each other no matter what is going on. So, whilst I will never get political in these blogs, it was disappointing to say the least to hear a UK Government official say they were ‘amazed’ at the way communities had responded to the recent pandemic. Amazed? Supporting one another is the bread and butter of every community no matter what policies or choices are thrown at them. Simply, it is what we do.
People who like to put a label on things have begun to refer to this as a Wellbeing Economy. I’m not really one for labels but this kind of works. Looking after each others wellbeing is the ‘currency’ of community but often gets lost or disrupted due to policy and practice. It is unfortunate that so often, people get in the way of people helping people. Lets pause and have a look at this short video:
The Covid-19 pandemic and wealth of community support that followed, are testament to the strength of community. We know our communities are really strong and you just have to read local social media pages to see how people will look out for others and how one act of kindness can lead to so much more. What the response to the pandemic did was fast track a lot of support and bring out this community led action – this wellbeing economy. To be honest though, it simply accelerated a change that was already occurring. And the reason it works is because communities understand their own needs and that understanding makes us better equipped to meet those needs. So what works in Camelon and Tamfourhill will be different to what works on the other side of town. The way support happens may change but the desire never does – we want the best for our community.
A revolutionary moment in the worlds history is a time for revolutions not for patching.William Beveridge, Social Reformer, 1942
So as some kind of new normality begins to emerge, this is a perfect chance to look at our community, ourselves, and those around us. It’s a perfect chance for organisations to show what they’re made of and maybe even for some new organisations formed by local people to rise up. This is the foundation for my work. It is not ‘business as usual’ as some might think because they’ll simply default to what they previously knew or who they previously were. There is a school of thought that perhaps normal was the problem in the first place! Countless alternatives exist and it is totally within our power to design things differently. Our new community economy should be wholly based on human and environmental wellbeing. And that means giving you the opportunity to develop new skills and opportunities to better yourself and those around you. It is crucial to remember that you or the organisation you represent are always evolving and developing and that you totally have the right and the ability to improve your life.
Beware of going back to what you once were, when [you can] be something that you have never been.Oswald Chambers
Not everyone needs to do everything, but everyone needs to do somethingMark Crosby
So what skills and opportunities are you craving? What has caught your attention over these last 5 months? Why not get in touch with me for a chat and we can see how those dreams can become a reality.
Dan Rous, Community Coach, 07444 873151 firstname.lastname@example.org