COVID–19 is a different world for us all, it’s making us think differently, live and behave differently, but there are some good things that are coming out of the fact that we are on lockdown. It’s been a difficult few weeks for many of our Gloucester Services colleagues as they have had to temporarily shutdown the majority of the site. But we are lucky as there is a strong community within and our relationships with GGT's Community Partners have really been invaluable during these last few weeks.
We have always worked with and funded GL Communities to pick up food that we are not able to sell at Gloucester Services and deliver to community food cupboards in the area. This week we have been able to make a big food donation, which is collected and delivered to collection points in our target communities - see our food support article for details.
Our community partner GL Communities also offer free money advice, what benefits you are entitled to and how to claim them. It can be complicated and daunting, the team have a wealth of knowledge and can guide people through the process.
One of things that Mark Gale is often heard saying is “ The only thing that is stopping us is our imagination”. Gloucester Services was born from creative and community aspirations. Now more than ever we need to think out of the box. The way we connect with people, at home, family, our neighbours, friends our colleagues. I am lucky and proud to be in Stroud, where a group of people set up a coronavirus community response network, https://neighbournetworks.uk/, giving out advice, mapping out streets and ensuring everyone is supported and linked to someone. It has bought people together and people are now talking and meeting people on line who they have never met, but have lived in the same road for years. On our street we have two WhatsApp groups, a serious one and a funny one to support each other during these strange times. Each year we have a street party and this year is going to be one big celebration of people we all have met, people who have helped us laugh, supported us and kept us all going.
I know it’s going to be challenging, for people who know me, I am not one to sit still for long. But I have picked up the phone to friends who I have known for years and had proper catch up’s. One of my good friends is a yoga teacher and is offering yoga on facebook, it’s great, I get to hear and see her and do some yoga at the same time (a calmer me is always appreciated by my family!). We have decided to have tea and cake once a week with some local friends to support each other over Zoom to share stories and advice on our children.
Last week I celebrated my birthday and more than ever, I felt very lucky to have such amazing friends and family around me. The usual more material items, were replaced by homemade items from my family, a 'Queen of Corona' crown from son number one, a medal from son number two (we often run together) and rose tinted glasses from my husband. We spent the day together and walked a former neighbour’s dog, in a bizarre way it was actually a lovely day.
At the end of all this, we may live in a different world where we are more connected, make more time for each other and appreciate each other and a world where the only thing that is stopping us is our imagination.
Some of the food that was donated to Gloucester community food cupboards from Gloucester Services
Our community partner GL Communities are still available to help - see their website for current hours and phone numbers
Clare enjoying her homemade birthday items from her family on her birthday last week
Clare's birthday crown, medal and rose tinted glasses made for her birthday - what better presents could you ask for?