I really love community spirit. It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling when people come together to do things. I regularly get overwhelmed with how much help is needed in the world and feel utterly useless with how much help I am able/prepared to give. I try to support charities and sponsor friends and family with all the amazing events they participate in. However, although I am in awe of all the people who walk away from their own lives to help others who need them, that is something I don’t feel able to do.
After the death of Jo Cox, I really felt like I wanted to do something more. She was such a great believer in community and helping those around you and I definitely feel the same. I already volunteer in a few different places but I wanted to try and organise something myself. In the past I’ve organised lots of one off events to try and help people, but this time I wanted to do something more regularly. I started thinking about the number of mums and grandmas I know who all say how isolated and lonely they feel. Some have only recently moved to the neighbourhood and haven’t met many people yet; some have lived here for years but old friends have gone or are too busy to see very often; some have very young children and are tired of watching CBeebies and making milk and food all day long; some have just sent their youngest child off to school for the first time and feel the emptiness in their home like a deep pain (I’ll put my hand up here).
I know there are toddler and baby groups for new mums, but what about for the rest of us? I thought if I could organise a regular coffee morning for all ladies (I should point out that men are not excluded, it’s just I have yet to meet any in this situation) we could support each other for whatever reason we needed it. I sent out a few invitations to neighbours and went out to buy cakes.
On the first day I wasn’t sure if anyone would show up but luckily most of the people came. It was a truly lovely atmosphere. The babies were passed around for cuddles and the toddlers played with toys. I even experimented with a bit of baking. Nobody was excluded from the chatting and boy was there a lot of chatting. I’ve now hosted several coffee mornings and they just keep getting bigger and better. I think our ages now span from 1 year of age to 78 years of age. It’s been wonderful to watch friendships form and see people light up when a small child takes their hand. Even the dogs are enjoying the attention (and the stealing of biscuits from distracted toddlers).
I only run the coffee morning once a month but I think we all really look forward to it. One of my ladies said it was the highlight of her month. I try to keep an eye out for anyone we meet who might benefit from joining us, so do let me know if you want to come along. I know it’s not saving the world but I like to think it’s helping. It’s certainly helped me get to know some wonderful people and I hope we continue to meet up for a long time to come.