“The greatest measure of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.”Coretta Scott King
What strange times we live in? Our generation is facing was has been described as the biggest social change since World War 2. That thought, in itself, is terrifying. The things we’ve all experienced over the last few weeks is like something out of a dystopian disaster movie. And within those weeks, we have seen the true nature of our communities. Whether that be the good or the bad.
It is very easy, in times like this, to think solely at your own situation. When you can do nothing but watch your plans disappear, your family and friends separate, your work dwindle away. You are surrounded by uncertainty. It seems impossible to see the light at the end of the tunnel, when you don’t even know the direction you’re supposed to be facing.
But, through the stress and strain this has taken on everyone, I have taken comfort in looking at the community. We live in a time where we don’t know our neighbours, except to maybe say “Hi!” to in the morning. But what this whole thing has shown us is what the nature of true community is. Everyone has banded together, going out of their way to help people they might not even know the name of.
As time goes by, the true idea of the community has been hushed and pushed into the shadows. It’s still there, and pops it’s head out now and again, but mostly keeps to itself. But this is the time we see the community at its best. Everyone still has the same jobs to be getting on with, the kids to look after, the family to tend to, and yet they find the time to help others. Doing what they can, whether it’s dropping Helping Hands leaflets through neighbours’ doors, or donating to a food bank.
Here in Penarth, we didn’t need the police or government official to tell us to help each other. We weren’t told what to do or how to help. In hard times, we pulled together, doing whatever we could to help each other. And these same people didn’t boast on social media or ask for money or anything in return. They didn’t want everyone to know how great they were or gain anything from it. All they wanted was to help people who needed it because they could. And that’s what makes our community so special, it’s what makes me proud to be part of it.
What I have admired during this time is the little things that people are doing to help. We all, of course, must applaud the very hard-working NHS staff, the teachers and day-care and supermarket staff, who are still working hard at the front lines. But the people we can’t forget are the people and businesses that are doing little things to make life easier for people or just to brighten their day. Like local gyms doing free online fitness sessions, or local restaurants doing free delivery or even donating food to hospitals.
These are the little things that keep us going and inspires us to do the same, using the resources we have to help our community.
What makes this time so scary, is the uncertainty of it all. Few of us are not used to living on a day-by-day basis and so being left in limbo can make us feel on edge. But what you can rely on in this time of crisis, is that our community will always pull together. From clapping for the NHS, to putting rainbows in the window, it’s times like this we realise that it’s the little things that keep us smiling. And I hope, that when this is all over and we go back to our normal lives. We remember the small (and big) acts of kindness and continue to support each other as a community.