On your marks, get set, oh! Stop…

Do you remember playing that game “Statues”? Or one of the many (many!) variations – Red Light Green Light, Grandmother’s Footsteps, to name a couple? (Or even What Time Is It Mr. Wolf if you really want to explore the options!) You know, where the person who is “It” has to catch the others while they’re moving. And they, in turn, try to control the giggles as they move stop-start towards “It”.

Well, life feels a bit like that at the moment. So many things to do “post-Covid” to help those who have been most impacted by the pandemic. So many obvious needs as people suffer the consequences of social isolation, educational ups and downs and financial insecurity and struggle to keep themselves and their families safe and sane. But then so many restrictions on what can or cannot be done.

The predicted “second wave” has made any talk of a “post-Covid” world premature and we play stop-start on continuous loop! Trying to plan and prepare adequately is, to put it mildly, a challenge. We’ve had dates in the calendar for events designed to address older people’s loneliness, only to have to reschedule. And postpone again. And reschedule. Again. Rinse and repeat!

And all this when we had received funding from the Government distributed through the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, for activities to support people with dementia, asylum seekers and lonely or isolated people as we come out of Covid. We are aware of so many needs, and yet so many limitations that make it feel almost impossible to do anything of real value. There is a limit to the number of phone calls a lonely person wants to receive when what they really want is a hug!

But, try we must. Some services, namely those that address the needs of the most vulnerable, can and must continue. Other projects have had to be reshaped with generous doses of both ingenuity and pragmatism. Some goals can be pursued through online activities – though for some people struggling with loneliness who often lack the skills or experience to engage through digital media, their growing social needs will never be met in this way.

And we live in hope. Hope, not just because of the promise of a vaccine that could put an end to many of the restrictions we have become accustomed to through 2020. But hope also because of the resilience of humanity, our innate creativity and capacity to find ways to face all and every situation with a smile, as well as the occasional tear.

Here’s to continuing to fan that hope into flame through our small contribution to the welfare of our community!