Love Your Street – COVID or Without!
However, as time goes by, and restrictions continue, it can be challenging to keep our our own spirits high let alone find the motivation to reach out to others. It is increasingly true, as the pressure continues and the stresses rise, that a kind word or a simple gesture of friendship can literally mean the difference between life and death. So we have put together this page to celebrate and encourage those of you who have been doing this all along, and to inspire us all to keep going or have a go at something new.
Thank you for doing your bit on the front line!
Stories to Encourage and Inspire You
Meet some of our community heroes, ordinary people finding lovely ways to reach out to their neighbours and spread a little hope and happiness – we think you will be inspired.
My family and I wanted to keep doing things we’d normally do with our neighbours because it’s important to us. For Easter this year, we made parcels with chocolate eggs, cake, cards and delivered them to some of the families on our street. On Easter Sunday, it was a joy to cook for 4 of our elderly neighbours, taking their portion of roast dinner round to them. One of our neighbours lives alone and has responded to our small gestures in amazing ways. He made us a beautiful bird table for our garden, delivered rhubarb, runner beans and various other things. My husband helps with shopping, doing paper rounds for those in need.
One thing to remember is not to let fear rob us of the opportunity to reach out but also not be overwhelmed by what you cannot achieve. We can’t reach out to all. What’s important is to build key relationships, balance things and sustain what we’re doing rather than burn ourselves out and not be of use to anyone.
We’re taking the opportunity to contact people we already know, and bring in people that we don’t know. I thoroughly recommend creating a ‘Buy Nothing’ group for your street. It has helped me communicate with everyone in the village all the time. We’re trying to change the culture, it’s not about moaning or things being bad all the time. There’s lots of good things to celebrate.
My love language is baking! For the first two weeks, I thought ‘I can’t do that!’ because of all the rules and I wondered if I was going to put anyone in danger, ‘what will people think?’ In the end, I thought I can give them a loaf, they can literally nuke it in the oven at 220 degrees and that will surely kill anything! People weren’t actually worried about getting bread but it was nice to acknowledge any fears at the back of our minds.
Even if people don’t appear to respond straightaway, they won’t forget that you were kind, that you popped round when nobody else did. We could be reaping the rewards in terms of relationships for months and years to come!
We’ve come to know several people through our street parties. On VE Day, 42 people came together on our street for a front garden party. Even with the social distancing rules in place, we still had fun with 1940s music, bunting and good conversations. There was a range of people from a six-week-old to a 90-year-old!
I’ve also tried to connect with our older neighbours who do not have smartphones or access to the internet; we’re helping them with prescriptions and shopping. It’s challenging because they’re the most vulnerable and in need but they’re also the hardest to get hold of.
Finding other people on my street who also wanted to reach out to our neighbours was very helpful because whatever we do, we do it as a team!
Ideas to Build Community
As we talked to folk, caught up with friends across the globe and searched the internet, we found some great ideas for building community, you might like to try one or two of them!
Share a Meal
We know of a Whitley resident who shared an Easter Sunday Roast with a few of her neighbours. Another resident received two batches of cookies and decided to pay it forward by making some wheaten bread and marmalade for their neighbours. Simple acts, big impact!
This period in particular has created budding Master-chefs around the world. Facebook groups with people from the same neighbourhood and towns are becoming popular. You can share your love for (and attempts at) cooking by posting pictures of daily meals and those special quarantine delicacies! You’ll be surprised with the variety. Here’s an example:
Catch Up: Go Old School
People in one of the local neighbourhoods meet every weekday for a daily check-in. They all stay at their own front doors for safety and chat for about half an hour. A Whats App group is in place to stay in touch with those on the street, to help with shopping and even lend or give away household items which are needed. In fact, 5 new households were added to the group since COVID19 crisis unfolded!
Little Free Library
This is a worldwide movement which supports book-sharing for streets and neighbourhood. If you would like to spread the joy of reading with those on your street, especially with children and young people; why not consider this project? They help you with everything you need to make this a reality.
Visit www.littlefreelibrary.org for more information; or use it as a tool to inspire your own imagination!
Support a Key Worker
Do you live next door or opposite to a key worker? Perhaps they could use your help with buying groceries, cook a meal, or other routine tasks which might be a challenge for them.
Awareness of Scams
Being aware of what is not good for you or the people in your community; especially for those who are most vulnerable, is essential towards building a healthy, safe and happy community.
Click HERE to familiarise yourself with the ongoing scams taking place in the UK, so that you can recognise and report it to the authorities if such a situation arises.
This looks so fun! Social distanced and everything – a great way to make a neighbour’s special day!!
Resources to Connect with your Neighbours
We had a look around and found some simple resources that we thought you might like to use to help you connect with your neighbours.
'I Can Help' Cards
If you can offer practical help to your neighbours, especially if they’re unable to go out for various reasons or live on their own; why not download these printable, ready to use cards to let people know you can help?
Click HERE to access and download the cards.
Whether you’re playing Bingo or just want to listen to uplifting music, here’s a playlist of songs put together by our friends at Youthscape. Share it on your Facebook, maybe on the WhatsApp group with neighbours and friends?
This activity has gained popularity in several countries and rightfully so. It is interactive, competitive and lets you have fun at a distance. Click HERE to choose from a variety of 4 Bingo sheets. To make it exciting, you and your neighbours could contribute something towards the prizes. Sweets, summer drinks, etc. – entirely your choice!
How can SYC help you?
One of SYC’s main objectives is to help people like yourself build healthy community in your street and neighbourhood. There are a number of ways we can do this, here are just three.
'Life in Lockdown' Webinars
SYC is organising a series of webinars to respond to different questions which have surfaced during this time. There is usually a panel of local people there to share their experiences and what they have learned. We’ll cover subjects like family life, building community, young people’s experiences, etc.
You can join us LIVE and have the option to ask questions or even just listen to the discussion and be encouraged!
Visit the calendar on our website to see whats coming up.
Navigate your Ideas
Do you feel inspired to do something to encourage people on your street or even your next-door neighbours? You can discuss your ideas and concerns with us on. We’d be very happy to help you navigate through this journey!
You can reach us in the following ways:
0118 931 4747
SYC offers a range of resources and training to help bring people, streets and neighbourhoods together by way of open crowd festivals and street parties. We also have a Festival Trailer fully equipped with items for interactive activities, games and circus skills. Wouldn’t it be amazing to put on a small street party, when we’re finally able to gather together, to celebrate the good things this time has taught us?
Visit this link for more information:
During these times, everyone should have all the support that they need. These services are here to help you when things get out of hand. But, before they get that bad, please don’t struggle on alone, get in touch and access the help you need.
Whatever the worry, it’s better out than in. Childline exists to help children and young people cope with a variety of problems arising out of relationships, self-harm, eating disorders, etc.
There are different ways to get in touch with them and they offer 1-2-1 chats with counsellors, support from other young people. To start with, they can be contacted on 0800 1111.
Speak Up & Save Lives
There is a greater likelihood of abuse, violence, neglect and other issues during this time. We all have a duty of care towards each other, whether for family members or the wider community. If you notice something that does not look right, please pick up the phone or report it online in the following ways:
If someone is in immediate danger call 999
For non-emergency cases, or general advice – 101
Children’s Single Point of Access, Reading:To raise concern about a child (up to 25 years for children and young people with additional needs) – 0118 937 3641 Email: ChildrensSinglePointofAccess@reading.gcsx.gov.uk
Likewise, a web form is available at:
Berkshire Women's Aid
BWA exists to support children and young people who have been or are being confronted by domestic abuse.
If you or someone you know needs support getting out of an abusive relationship or you just want to talk to someone, then contact BWA on our helpline:
0118 9504003 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you just want to read more about this stuff and find out what support is available nationally you can also visit:
Other Useful Information
As you connect with your neighbours, they might find some of the following information useful.
Gas and Electricity
Phone your supplier if you have a prepay meter tell them your self isolating and they will send you out 2 weeks worth of gas / electricity or if you have a smart meter they will top you up. Here are their numbers:
BRITISH GAS 0333 202 9802
EDF 0333 200 5100
EON 0345 052 000
N POWER 0800 073 3000
SCOTTISH POWER 0800 027 0072
SSE 0345 026 2658
Corona Virus, the reason for the season!
We have gathered some of the clearest information we could find for you on the pandemic that we are all living through.
Here is a scientific video that explains how the virus works, what it does in our bodies and how we can combat it:
How to read information about Covid 19 like a scientist and not get duped!
If you do not have enough food for everyone in your household, there is plenty of help out there! If you live in Whitley, contact the Whitley Community Development Association at email@example.com or call them on 07799 146615 to explain your situation.
You can also contact the One Reading Community Support Hub on 0808 1894325.
Visit reading.gov.uk/coronavirussupport They will be able to refer you for a food parcel or other help.