Thursday, 19 March 2020

Looking Up In These Downcast Times

Many of our lives are being circumscribed, with 'social distancing', and exhortations to stay at home. How can we most easily make the best of these strange times, helping ourselves, our community and beyond? Here's a few suggestions:

Keeping In Touch

  • make an effort to talk with your neighbour (over the wall, or the 'phone) - a human voice can be such a comfort;
  • ask if help's needed with some shopping;
  • if you're already part of a community group, whose meetings have been cancelled, consider buddying up with another member, and share your experiences;
  • Jocelyne Underwoood, Sustainable Hayfield supporter, has asked about organised schemes for supporting the most vulnerable. The two already running are:
    • New Mills and District Volunteer Centre, a well-established community volunteer service, running several schemes. Details are displayed prominently on Hayfield Parish Council website;
    • High Peak Council for Voluntary Service, a coordinating body for many local groups, and able to give advice. They're on 01663 735350 and at hello@highpeakcvs.org.uk. Please recognise there will be a delay on getting a response.

Tending The Garden

Many of us know the soothing effects of gardening. Why not reconsider your plot by:

  • redesigning some feature, if only in your head/on paper to begin with;
  • getting some seed (flowers or veg) and nurturing a new area;
  • consider opening up more space for wildlife in your garden, perhaps linking with neighbours. There's wildlife gardening ideas from Springwatch here.
  • using your surplus imaginatively, for community benefit. Sustainable Hayfield supporter Trevor Williams has been planting out native English bluebells and snowdrops around the 'old school field' for a few years. And now's the time to split up your snowdrop clumps and further beautify the area. Subdivide your snowdrop clumps and join Trevor on the slopes near the Scout Hut on Saturday at 11.00.a.m. to augment planting there.

Supporting Local Businesses

Businesses - such a key part of our community - are facing huge, and immediate, threats. Let's help by:

  • shopping local wherever we can;
  • supporting them by paying for appointments (hairdressers, physio etc.) which may have to be unavoidably cancelled, helping their cash flow and building loyalty.

Helping the Poorest

Who, as ever, will be the hardest hit by local, and global, dislocation:

  • keep giving to the Food Banks, and, if you can, give a little more. Donations are already down, as demand grows;
  • give, as birthday/other presents, virtual gifts via www.oxfam.org.uk or www.practicalaction.org.
  • we recently held a very successful sewing event for Dress A Girl Around the World. But there's still surplus material and dresses which are either cut out or partially finished. If you'd like, in the current situation, to do some sewing at home, and help restore dignity to children abroad at risk of sexual exploitation, please contact Pennie Roberts, Sustainable Hayfield Committee member on 07749 710127 or iampennieroberts@gmail.com. Material and instructions can be provided and left in a suitable place for completion.

Loving Your Home

One of the paradoxes of the current crisis is that the environment is benefitting through less pollution. Can we sustain these improvements close to home by;

    doing what you know makes sense, by switching your energy supplier to a green supplier. It's so easy.
  • ensuring that more time at home doesn't always mean excessive use of electronic appliances, and more expense. Remember to disconnect appliances (TVs, phones etc) at night (no red lights);
  • reducing your food waste with these tips from Love Food Hate Waste.
  • chilling out, economically - set your fridge to the right temperature to save energy.

Let's make the best of the challenges we face - together! Thank you, and take care.

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