A view from the Turret

The Simplest of Connections are often the best

 This week I have seen examples of how the simplest of connections often provide the most value to individuals within communities. The first was a trip to Northamptonshire MINDs new hub – a great space packed with passionate and skilled staff and volunteers. They talked to me about their various projects, and how they were keen to connect individuals to services, largely around the subject of health and wellbeing but not exclusively. And boy is it needed….

I have said this hundreds of times over the past 3 months but it’s worth saying again. COVID19 has exacerbated an already frightening story of mental ill – health: 21.3% of adults over the age of 18 have clinical signs of psychological distress. Depression amongst adults has nearly doubled over the past 24 months, and with a cost-of-living precipice around the corner these statistics will worsen. The current economic crisis is an inconvenience for the affluent, it’s a worry for those who work and its frightening for the most vulnerable and disconnected. The hub that MIND have will enable those individuals to seek support and solace over a cup of tea, and I have committed to supporting them with volunteering advice and signposting moving forward. I wish them every success. From these small connections I am hopeful that individuals within our communities can gain back some self-esteem and aspiration.

In a similar vein, VINs veterans’ coffee morning brought together those with an armed forces background: One story stuck in my head: Two veterans sat next to each other over a cup of tea and realised that not do they live in the same building, but on the same floor, yet have never spoken or passed the time of day. They now plan to visit and support each other on a regular basis.

Simple connections are what the VCSE is excellent at forging: It will be a fundamental part of the new Integrated Care System that such small connections continue and grow to help arrest some of the health inequalities we currently face: It goes beyond copious pages of strategic development and policy formulation which communities often struggle to understand and engage with.

Never underestimate the power of small.

 And if you are interested in volunteering for MIND they have several opportunities, from Peer Support Volunteers through to Volunteer Counsellors. If you are interested, please contact enquiries@northamptonshiremind.org.uk

As they say, whether you have 2 hours or 10 hours per week to spare, they would love to hear from you.