As this article is being written, one of us is awaiting communication from our local GP surgery.  In this brave new world, the ‘askmygp’ function on their website was used, instead of talking to the receptionist.  Why?  Well, one of the GP’s spent a good few minutes of the surgery’s answering service telling us this was the quickest way to proceed.  So, we decided to embrace the future and try it, and so we wait, and wait, and wait.  Now, if we’d rung and been told that the GP/Nurse would ring us back we’d have waited, so why does this feel different?  On reflection we’ve decided it’s the personal touch that’s missing.  If we’d spoken to a human being, we would know our call had been logged, our concerns noted and we were in the system, this way there is just – nothing.  Nothing but hope that the system will work and that communication (and an appointment) will come through.

As we look out into the world around us it seems that more and more of the personal touch is missing.  The joy of receiving your bought goods, handed to you in a bag, has been replaced with the service stopping at taking your money.  Now we, the customer, have to delve and find our own bag, open it and carefully slide the goods into it while the assistant looks on.  Okay, so we refuse to buy plastic bags on principle, but that doesn’t mean we want the personal touch to end so abruptly.  It is now possible to walk into a large shop, buy £50 worth of goods and walk out again without anyone in that shop saying, ‘good morning’ or even the dreaded ‘have a nice day!’

It is this lack of the personal touch which should encourage us to support our local independent retailers.  Local shops serving local people.  It’s also a good reason to look at the work of local charities as they strive to serve their local community.  Without a large corporate structure to support, local shops know what their customers will buy; just as small local charities serve in ways that meet the particular need of their local community.

It’s this personal touch that we here at Hope Trust strive to deliver on.  We want to know your name; we are willing to learn as much of your story as you want to share.  We are happy to make your coffee black, with a dash of cold water in it, just as you like it.  We would like to help you move from where you are, closer to where you want to be, if we can.  That’s why we offer regular events, because that way you know exactly what’s going on.  Whether our weekly Technology Café, Tea & Chat sessions or even the Spring Bereavement Support Group starting on Monday 9th March, we are here for you - Oops, sorry, got to go, the phone is ringing, could it be the Surgery……….?