WITH some social distancing restrictions now relaxing, it is key we stay alert and observe any social distancing measures still in place. However, there are still some ways that you can help yourself feel more connected to your local community and feel less alone during this difficult period.
Rachel Hardy, Chief Executive of Foresters Friendly Society offers 5 things you can do to keep calm and carry on caring at this time of crisis.
Call or video chat with elderly or vulnerable people:
Research by the Campaign to End Loneliness found half a million older people already experience protracted periods of isolation. This will only increase as the elderly and most vulnerable are being encouraged to continue self-isolating to stay safe. Just checking in by phone or video call and asking them how their day has been can be enough to change someone’s whole outlook. Looking after our members has been part of Foresters’ ethos for many years, and in 2019 our members made nearly 13,000 care contacts to keep in touch with each other.
Donate to your local food bank:
Food banks are currently experiencing increased demand plus a fall in donations. To help them support as many people as possible, consider donating even a couple of tins of food next time you visit the supermarket. Many food shops have a collection at the front of the store where you can leave any donations and staff will make sure they get to those in need. Alternatively, you can find out where your local food bank is and then you can deliver to them directly.
If someone vulnerable needs extra help with food shopping, it may be worth offering to pick up their food alongside your own. Becky Wass, from Falmouth, Cornwall, designed a postcard to let neighbours who can’t leave the house get the support they need. The postcard has now gone viral and everyone can print to share with their neighbours too, and it can be found here.
Take time out to practice mindfulness:
Everything is changing quickly at the moment and constant news updates can make it hard to switch off. Going for a quick walk every day is actively encouraged under the current lockdown measures. Stepping out of the house to go for a short walk can help you to put everything into perspective and help you to feel calmer. Additionally, apps like Headspace are a great way to help you to relax, meditate, improve your mental health and feel better over time.
While we must stay safe, meeting in groups of six outdoors is now permitted proving the fun doesn’t have to stop. If the weather changes, you can also organise virtual quizzes, cake baking competitions and even parties as a way to get your whole household involved in a fun indoor activity. Video calling apps such as Zoom and HouseParty have become popular ways that people are staying in touch with their friends and family and socialising together. Having to stay in isolation can cause a strain on family life and can be especially difficult to explain to young children who are used to socialising with friends or playing outside, encouraging them to talk to their friends over the phone or via video call can help to offer a sense of normality to their day.
What to do if you are struggling with financial hardship:
The outbreak of Coronavirus is also having a large impact on many people’s finances with job uncertainty and lost earnings an issue for many. Foresters Friendly Society is able to provide financial support in some cases for its members in the form of discretionary grants. The Foresters Support Fund can help adult members in times of hardship, paying up to £2,000 to get members through difficult times. Additionally, as part of Foresters Child Support Fund, Foresters is able to provide financial assistance to children such as those who are bereft of one or both parents; children who have parents that are incapacitated; children who themselves are incapacitated or have special needs and children who are carers. For more information visit our members’ pages to find out about the benefits we offer.
At Foresters Friendly Society we value friendship and kindness and encourage all of our members to do anything they can, however small it may seem, to help each other and the wider community at this time. Supporting our members emotionally, as well as financially through the grants we offer, remains at the top of our agenda.
Our members should rest assured that as your mutual society, we will do our utmost to ensure we put you, and our staff who provide you with the service you have come to expect, first at all times. Should you require additional support please get in touch with your local Court or call our main office on 0800 783 4162 and we will be pleased to help.