This Mental Health week, the theme is kindness or being kind. We have all seen the explosion of kindness across our community in response to the Covid-19 crisis and amongst all the sadness, there have been so many acts of true kindness and friendship within our neighbourhoods.
At The Healthy Living Platform, we have been enormously struck by the offers of help that have come trickling, and later, flooding in by local people; often furloughed or recently unemployed- taking a chance to give something back. More than anything though, our parents, already members of The Healthy Living Platform, have been the first ones to come forward and volunteer.
We have spent this week trying to tell just some of the stories of their kindness.
Helen, from the HLP team, takes up the story of one family: “I first met Issa and Shemeika back in April, on a scorching hot Friday. I was doing our Friday veg bags delivery in my car and they were one of the last on my list. I arrived sweaty and exhausted. I waved to them as I unloaded the veg from the back of the car and apologised for being late. After a safely-distanced chat and preparing to leave, Issa suddenly said: “I’d be happy to do some deliveries on my bike.” – and a light came on inside my head.
Before Covid, a key part of our programme was our parents volunteering: cooking at our sessions; watering the community gardens on a rota; leading story time and songs or organising fantastic events for families.
Now, we have to do things a little differently with social distancing and strict hygiene protocol but it is still possible for our parents to be involved in the programme by helping with food deliveries and distribution. We are an asset-based programme that thrives with the support of our families and local people.”
“Issa and Shemeika are always there, making the time to give back and offering to come and help. We hope to cook and play with them and their children when everything is well again and we can safely do so.”
Issa talks about his experience on the ground as a Delivery and Logistics Volunteer: “My partner and I both volunteer for The Healthy Living Platform. We deliver Veg and Fruit bags as well as hot meals and sometimes plants to people in the local community. We do this a couple of days a week and really enjoy it. The Healthy Living team are really helpful with the training and safety aspects of the work and ensure we are safe whilst delivering; so we know we’re in good hands!”
“We can see that these food deliveries are helping the recipients and we will continue to help out as we believe it’s a vital service. We urge anyone who has a few spare hours a week to contact The Healthy Living Platform and see if you can help out in any way possible, we’re glad we did!”
Issa goes on to talk about his experience as a member of Healthy Living Platform: “We are a big family and The Healthy Living Platform is a great service. As a family we want to live a healthy lifestyle and the Veg and Fruit Bags as well as the children’s play services and family exercise programs really give us the support we need to maintain it. The staff are very receptive and work hard to give us all the help we need. We just want to say thank you for all the hard work you do for us our local community.’
Every kind act is repaid in some way. Let’s celebrate kindness this week. It means a lot for everyone’s mental health right now.