Markers, Notes and Reminders

 Years ago, a trip to the supermarket would have been done quickly, flying between the shelves, mentally ticking off those items that were required that week.  Nowadays, it is less quick and more of a getting almost to the end only to remember we did need butter after all, even though it was at the top of this week’s shopping list.  Thankfully the Covid one-way systems have been done away with as that really did cause problems for those ‘I nearly forgot…’ items!  Nowadays its often a mobile phone that will chirrup, alerting us to the next task, appointment or ‘must do’ activity, assuming of course you can even hear the alert when it goes off – who else misses a call, alert or other notifications because it’s in the depths of a bag or a deep pocket?

For modern travellers, we delight in road signs, road markings and Sat Nav’s to get us around safely; yet spare a thought for those ancient travellers who would have to ask local people the way and in more remote locations may well have lost their way completely.  The Romans knew about the need for road signs and would erect standing stones giving them the distance to Rome - but at least they knew they were on the right path!

For us, we are in the process of determining the correct wording on a very different type of marker – a headstone for a grave - now that really is a challenge.  To sum up the lives of both parents in just a few words is proving taxing, but we know it will be appreciated by those who feel that the installation of such a marker will help them remember in the days to come, giving them a reason to visit on special occasions.

Why are we chattering on about all this?  Well, as June unfolds, here at Hope Trust we really do hope that it will indeed herald the lifting of Covid restrictions including the need for face masks and social distancing.  The joy of shaking the Scrabble boxes and setting the tiles up will be music to our ears!  Follow that with the Rummikub and Qwirkle boards and things will really seem like they are ‘getting back to normal.’  Yet there are so many markers left behind to remind us of the torrid time we’ve all gone through.  ‘For sale’ boards on houses, an empty chair as someone is no longer well enough to attend, an unfinished project, but there are also other markers – neighbours we now know the names of and say ‘hello’ to because they helped by picking up shopping over these past months, walks/places we’ve discovered locally – here at Hope Trust on one of our April walks we took people to Allenby Park, a small, hidden green oasis!  Whether the markers point to good times, or sadder, darker times, they serve as a reminder, the question we must ask as we move forward is this: What new markers do we need to create, find, or identify as we start to move on with our lives and when we look back will we see the progress made from where we were to where we want/need to be?  If you think you’re stuck, don’t despair, Hope Trust is just one of many local organisations here to help, all it takes is a phone call and we will all be there to help point you in just the right direction.

We are Paul & Sheila Taylor (Pastoral Workers) and we can be reached on 01394 272592, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our website www.hopetrust.org.uk then if we can help, we will.

Common Sense comes from different and sometimes unexpected, sources.

 It’s amazing where sayings, statements or even facts come from, the ones that really make you stop and take notice that is.  Let us explain, we are really fortunate to have a son living in America.  His inlaws regularly keep in touch with us, which is why we had our attention directed to a recent article in the New York Times (isn’t the Internet amazing?!)  The article, written by Sarah Lyall was entilted ‘We have all hit a wall’ and the opening phrase reads ‘Many of us are having a hard time concentrating these days.’  She quotes someone else who says ‘I am just so exhausted all the time …….. but I am accomplishing way less.’  Apparently, the writer shares in the article, when people are under a long period of chronic, unpredictable stress, they lose the ability to take pleasure in their activities, get lethargic and show a lack of interest. This article really struck a cord with us as it seemed to find the words to describe exactly how we were both feeling!  We are sure we are not the only people who have found our enthusiasm sapped, our energies depleted and our joy levels diminished after 13 months of this awful virus.  So what’s to be done?

Well, the answer is simple – do something - the trick is knowing what that ‘something’ should be!  For some people it will be a walk in the sunshine, others a pint in a beer garden, some will feel refreshed after a swim, for others it will be having a picnic with family in a park, a foot massage or facial; we believe the answer is to do that thing that helps you feel less stressed, the sort of thing where your shoulders finally relax and sag a bit instead of being held tense and closer to your neck than they should be.  In returning to hosting those support activities Hope Trust delivers, we can see the benefit of people coming along for a Monday walk, a chat, or even enjoying a mug of tea someone else has made for them!

Some people may also have to be very brave and try to find new things to engage in, and with.  A part-time job, or volunteering are great ways to meet new people as well as supporting people or organisations in these post pandemic days.  Joining social or activity groups that you might not have had the time to be a part of previously may be helpful, and fun, especially as the Spring turns into Summer and the nights are lighter, longer.  Or it may be a chance to confront the reality of a recent bereavement by coming along to Hope Trust’s 4-week Bereavement Support Group which will be hosted from 10th May to 7th June.  So, whatever you choose, we really hope it works out, replenishes those empty tanks  and helps you get back to a better, more positive, place.

We are going to give Albert Einstein the final words – written on a café blackboard – ‘Learn from yesterday, live for today and hope for tomorrow.’ You see, common sense really does come from many different sources!

We are Paul & Sheila (Pastoral Workers) for Hope Trust.  If we can help, we can be reached on 01394 272592, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our website www.hopetrust.org.uk

We are planning on resuming the support aspect of the charity’s work, face to face, in a COVID safe manner on Tuesday 13th April with our first Technology Café of 2021.  This will be swiftly followed by our Wednesday Tea & Chat at Maidstone Hall on Wednesday 14th and our Thursday session in Old Felixstowe starting on 15th April, which is amazing!  There are other dates and support activities planned as well, but we are aware that, until Social Distancing measures are relaxed (hopefully mid-June) things won’t be quite back to normal for some time yet.

These exciting future plans have given us a chance to reflect on the 13 months that have just passed.  After all, who thought COVID-19 would have affected us all, so much, for so long?  We could never have foreseen the charity closing its doors to activities, having instead to move its contacts with the people we enjoy meeting and chatting with each week onto a more ‘remote’ methodology.  But, and I know you should never start a sentence with the word but, yet it seems so appropriate here, but, has closing our doors forced us to find different ways to create closer relationships with the people we work with?  Has our ‘chatty letter’ initiative with people we’ve never met, but who wanted more contact with people outside of their own, now smaller, world, been a success?

We’re also wondering, has being locked down given us all a chance to not just ‘do’ tasks in and around our homes, but work out exactly what, and perhaps more importantly who, is important to us?  Embracing online technologies like Zoom and What’s App have allowed us to stay in touch, but so has ordering online goods, no, not just clothes and shoes but books, music and jigsaw puzzles - who knew!

We can’t have failed to notice that the longer this pandemic has lasted, the more of a negative impact it’s had, both physically and mentally on so many, especially this third lockdown over the winter months.  This is why we’re going to start April with a new weekly initiative entitled ‘Walk with Hope.’  Starting at 10.30am on Monday 12th April, we’ll start a walk with anyone who’s fed up walking alone, leaving from the Ranelagh Road car park toilets.  Lasting no more than 45 minutes it will be a chance to walk, and chat, with someone new.  Perhaps this might just kickstart your journey of recovery from what Covid has thrown at us all.

The emotional toll for so many has also been immense these past months.  We’ve lost close family members, as have many others.  That’s why our 4-week Bereavement Support Group will be hosted from 10th May to 7th June, with a chance to find out what it’s all about on Saturday 1st May, simply turn up at Maidstone Hall at 10.30am for the introduction. 

As we think about restarting the work of the charity, we know some changes will be permanent, some will pass never to be seen again and some will shape how we move forward.  However, the great news is this, we will move forward together; Hope Trust is still here, it’s not going anywhere, promise.

Paul & Sheila (Pastoral Workers) for Hope Trust.  We can be reached on 01394 272592, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our website www.hopetrust.org.uk