In these strange and uncertain times many things have changed, but I never thought that it would come to the point that I would be as interested in the status of my internet connection, as I am today. It’s just not something I ever really thought about, it was just there. Turn on a computer or even a television and there’s a connection to the internet, that ‘thing’ that no one really understands but rely upon in ever increasing and varied ways. Sure, we relied upon it before but not in the way we do today. Today its more akin to a utility like water, gas and ellectricity. Today it’s the difference between being connected with loved ones, having food in our cupboards, accessing healthcare and other support services.
Before Coronavirus, if you didn’t have access to the internet you still had choice, you could go and talk to a person and buy something, you could go somewhere and ask for support. Now that’s all changed. Now that is so much more difficult, it takes a community to bring those resources and support to the doorsteps of those who are vulnerable and isolated. It takes a community to support those most in need.
I am lucky enough to be able to work from home and one day I received, through the letterbox a flyer. It read “If you are self-isolating I can Help”, it went on to introduce a lady who lived around the corner, who was prepared to support me (if I needed it), a complete stranger, with my shopping, posting letters or even just a quick chat on the phone. This person volunteered their time to support her community without asking for anything in return.
This is by no means unique, the news is full of people and organisations providing support both on a structured and unstructured basis to those who need it most, but it is contrary to the enduring belief of recent years that ‘Community’ was no longer a feature of our daily lives. That we had lost a sense of collective support and care for each other.
When I think about the vulnerable people we support, self-isolating to protect themselves from this deadly virus, so many, wholly reliant on enabling support staff to provide support in every aspect of their daily lives, it occurs to me that we collectively are a community. Continuing as we have for over 35 years, supporting and enabling those most in need to live as independently as possible. Their community isn’t dead, its ubu. We support them to connect with their friends and families, to access the support, healthcare and resources they need to live well and safely in these difficult times and our enabling staff are there for them now, as much as they ever were, and ever will be.