Looking after each other; Macarena in the street, online choirs and being an 'Out and Abouter' indoors

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At the beginning of March, I became unwell. As the world was starting to shut down, in the main I was just feeling rotten in bed.

As I began to feel better it was a little bit like falling into some strange post-apocalyptic film without realising. The Triffids had been in the night and I had been one of the people who just slept through it.

This is not to say I didn’t know that COVID-19 was happening, just that its immediate impact is minimal if your daily journey is no further than the distance from your bed to the bathroom.

For the past week, I have been working from home and my main task each day is calling our member; the community groups and voluntary organisations that Salford CVS have worked with and supported over the years.

I've found it a very varied job, for some people, I am the only person who has called them recently and as well as checking how they are and what their group is doing we talk about their worries and concerns, what they need and who they can rely on.

Some people appear to be even more active than they were before. One woman from a local group told me that she has organised street quizzes and singalongs (from a safe distance). She has also been standing in her front garden every morning with a loudspeaker and doing the Macarena as people down the street join in.

It can be difficult when things are this surreal and unsettling to pinpoint the solid things around us; shopping, meeting up, making appointments. One thing that consistently comes across when I am calling people is that wherever possible the members of Salford's voluntary organisations and small community groups are looking after each other. They are organising daily phone calls, making sure that nobody goes without food, setting up entertainment online and experimenting with Zoom and other new ways to see each other virtually. 

So if you are doing the Macarena on the streets of Irlam, or your artwork is being shared on Connect’s virtual gallery, or you’re at home adding your singing voice to Barton Bell’s online choir, or you’re a member of the 'Out and Abouters' phoning each other to provide support and someone to talk to when the worst happens then know you are part of a community making a difference!

Remember that whatever else changes our community groups and charities consistently rise to the challenge. I am both privileged and awed to hear how they are doing that every day.

Salford CVS
Author: 
Beatty Osborne, Volunteering Development Worker

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5 Irwell Place 
Salford, M30 0FN

Tel: 0161 787 7795 
Email: office@salfordcvs.co.uk

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Salford CVS is the city-wide infrastructure organisation for the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector; providing specialist information, advice, development support and opportunities for influence and collaboration.

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