At the time of writing this article, the story of Prince Harry & Meghan is dominating the papers; a volcano has erupted in the Philippines, the Australian Bush Fires are raging out of control, tensions with Iran are heightened whilst the issues facing Northern Irelands health service just might start to be sorted out now that Power Sharing is back in place at Stormont. Such a difficult start to 2020.
No-one wants trouble, in their own life or the lives of those they love, yet trouble and strife can, at times, seem almost impossible to resolve, or is it? Listening to a recent Radio 5 Live interview, the guest shared quite openly that, living in a block of flats, if he’s about to leave his flat and hears the neighbours doing the same, he will wait until they’ve gone just so he doesn’t have to speak to them! What a strange attitude – if you don’t talk to people when all is well, how on earth will you chat to them if an issue needs to be resolved?
We’ve talked many times about the amazing British Spirit that manifests itself when we have a foot of snow on the ground; we’ve encouraged people to consider showing that same willingness to help, to chat, to support one another when the weather is being kind. An illustration of this comes from Flagstaff, Arizona where all residents are required (by law) to clear their driveway and any pavement in front of their house after it snows, which it does a lot! This provides an opportunity for people to get to know which neighbours need help and which don’t, as well as offering local university students the chance to earn some cash! People helping people. People taking responsibility for their street. People knowing which neighbours can, and which can’t, clear the snow or go shopping for essentials like bread and milk. By working together, people are making a difference and building relationships.
So, back to our title – do you wait until the neighbours leave before venturing out, or are you someone who stops to have a chat? Do we want to be the sort of neighbour that knows an elderly neighbour has spent the last 20 Christmases alone, and do something about it, or appear on the BBC News embarrassed that we didn’t? We are not advocating ‘nosey neighbours’ but caring neighbourhoods. Not busybody central, but informed concern. To be the person who can pick up a prescription for someone who’s really poorly or buy them milk and a paper. Small, simple acts that can make such a difference.
Here at Hope Trust we seek to be a place where people can be moved from where they are, closer to where they want to be. We share details of what activities and services we offer, as well as those of organisations better equipped to help in certain situations. Whether people need our Spring Bereavement Course (starting 9th March) weekly Tech Café, or opportunities for Tea & Chat, we’re here to help – are you?