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Time to reflect

September was a good month for reflection at The Food Chain.

We were able to meet 12 service users face to face for the first time in 6 months at our outdoor event on a lovely sunny day, and we also held an online discussion with our volunteers. It was great to hear directly from people how things have been for them in the past 6 months and to reflect on everything we have been doing as an organisation to respond to the Covid19 crisis. We also had the most fun you can have on Zoom at our volunteer party last week!

People shared many helpful thoughts and observations about their experiences, all of which we will consider fully and see what we need to do or change in response.

For me the most resonant and compelling observations are these.

Meeting in person is essential for our service users’ good health and wellbeing. The joy people felt at  being together in a garden on a sunny day in September was far greater than this seemingly ordinary event might usually generate. For some this was the first face-to-face social contact they had had with anyone since March. The value of this must not be underestimated and at The Food Chain we will do all we can to continue to bring people together in whatever ways we can. We are therefore planning for future events of this kind, including working out how we may bring some of our most isolated service users together on Christmas Day.

Of equal significance is the amazing contribution of our volunteers and the impact of that for everyone involved. Many have spoken of the value for them of staying in touch and of taking part in Food Chain activities during this time. We know our volunteers have always found their roles rewarding as well as enjoyable and it has never been more so than this year when a different response has been needed. Whether from home or on the road, our volunteers’ many and varied contributions have been absolutely essential to our response. There is no doubt whatsoever that the collective impact of our whole Food Chain team is far greater than the sum of our individual acts. We’re good together!

It is very heartening that we have been able to stay as closely connected as possible with our service users and our volunteers this year, and we will continue to find ways of sustaining this throughout the coming months.

This is still a very difficult time for everyone and there are aspects of daily life that we are all missing.

I feel grateful that The Food Chain is one place where we can make things that bit better for all of us.