Despite the Covid-19 restrictions, there are things that we can all share, learnt from Places of Welcome

Su Parker 2

Su Parker - TCT's Black Country Places of Welcome Enabler

There are so many things that we aren’t sharing at the moment, because we don’t want to share Covid-19. Yet I think there are some things that we can still share that I have learnt from going to Places of Welcome.

Places of Welcome are a growing network of local community groups providing their neighbourhoods with places where all people feel safe to belong, connect and contribute.

Since 17th March, they haven’t been able to meet in person. I have written in another blogs to start a conversation about how Places of Welcome can keep connections with each other and open out to welcome their community (see links below). In these, I have explored how the values that make up the network can continue, even though we can't physically meet up.

I have heard from many coordinators throughout the Black Country and Staffordshire, that there are phone calls, letters and even zoom meetings happening all over the network!

If you have ever been to a Place of Welcome, you will know that tea and coffee are always there in abundance, biscuits can often be found and sometimes cake or toast. There is also lots of conversation and connection. Yet, there are lots of things that are also shared that don’t get mentioned but are always to be found in every Place of Welcome. At a time when we can’t sit down and share food, I think it might be worth bringing these into the spotlight:

KINDNESS
GENEROSITY
SMILES
LAUGHTER

When these are brought into a Place of Welcome, they spread like wildfire! And we are still allowed to share these. Let’s see if we can try!

At the moment, we don’t know what the people in the supermarket queue in front of us has been through. Even if we live with someone, we may not understand exactly how they are feeling. We don't know if the person who we pass at least 2 metres from whilst we're exercising may be in need of a chat. Maybe kindness, generosity, smiles and laughter help us connect.

At a Place of Welcome, it’s also not always that same people who need to bring them every week. You can see people take it in turns! Sometimes we need to receive these and sometimes we need to give them.

The easiest thing to give away is a smile - I have seen it ease any situation. Kindness and generosity don’t need words, but words can always help. Laughter relaxes and is a gateway for deeper topics. They don’t need to be only given in person. A letter, phone call or online chat can all carry these too!

Kindness, generosity, smiles and laughter will help us carry Places of Welcome wherever we go.

📷 credit: Markus Spiske on Unsplash