We all had to live in the moment in a world that was totally unfamiliar to us all. Though in isolation we connected over the garden wall, across the road, on the phone, clapping or banging pans on a Thursday night or on social media, but for some they had no human contact, and what developed gave us common ground. The landscape was also one of grief, loneliness, fear, that saw us doing lots of things differently, and it demanded much resilience, creativity, and kindness. We also all learnt new things like how to shop online, bake a cake, play, be your own best friend, rediscovered the art of talking, sometimes to a stranger but hearing words like how are you meant everything, these were the tools we used to navigate our new world. It has not been easy for anyone and for some the loss and not understanding where our confidence is hiding and finding it difficult to take a brave step outside for some of us is still work in progress. During the rough roller coaster ride that took us all with it we did see one of the biggest surges of kindness that flooded our communities.
Throughout Cheshire East it was clear to see that out of the crisis brought about a togetherness, a community spirit not seen in many years the power of volunteers hit the streets and small villages alike. Organizing as they went with our support in the middle of Covid adapting to survive I am talking about all the innovation and community value that our volunteers catalysed, developed and thrust in the direction of those that really needed that help to remain well and safe at home.
It has been wonderful to see community volunteers selflessly shopping for strangers, collecting medication, delivering meals, supporting food banks and food collections, making much needed wellbeing phone calls, walking pets for those who were shielding, taking specs into the opticians to be fixed, posting cards just to say hello, driving people to hospital appointments, creating new services like meal deliveries and organising collections of pre loved laptops and IT equipment to fix them up and distribute for home schooling, making trips to hospitals to collect special medication for cancer patients, lending compassionate listening ears to those feeling lonely or with poor mental health, helping people form fill over the phone, all this translates has bucket fulls of kindness.
People helping People would like to extend our thanks to all our Volunteer Co-ordination points and their volunteers and partners across the borough. You come from all walks of life, from every background and every community. This year, as we reflect, and launch the new website We Are Cheshire East as a dedicated space for volunteers, let’s take a moment to celebrate the fact that in the face of adversity, together we have achieved real impact but very importantly we want you to know that we are humble and recognise you were always at the heart of this and without you it simply would not have happened. Respect. You helped shine a light during a difficult time, and together, we have taken those moments and created the beginnings of a new movement towards compassionate action, towards service to one another, towards a kinder brighter future.