Tag Archives: Covid 19

“Where there’s life there’s hope, and need of vittles.” ~ JR Tolkein

Download from quotefancy.com for wallpaper

I love this quote. It is almost a Pooh~ism!

As a writer I am always stirred by the generosity of spirit of people I meet in terms of giving time, effort and finances to support those in need. I also find stories of resilience and fortitude of folks heartwarming ~ how people are brought to rock bottom by their circumstances, often through no fault or action of their own, find the courage to rise up once more.

I particularly love the work of Emmaus, with so many wonderful stories of how the organisation has changed people’s lives by providing a purpose, work and community life and the chance to give something back.

This is what Micheal wrote:

“”Without Emmaus, I don’t think I would be around right now and it has given me a lifeline to a better future. I was first homeless at the age of seven with my mother and continued to be homeless on-and-off for nearly 20 years before finding Emmaus.”

To read Micheal’s full story please click on this link. Micheal’s Story

Unfortunately the virus has stalled a great deal of the usual work of Emmaus ~ their workshops, shops and delivery to name three areas, but the organisation has continued to support those in great need throughout. Emmaus is a UK wide organisation. There is almost certainly one near where you live. https://emmaus.org.uk/

It is people like Michael’s who inspired me to write Dot’s story in MISSING Past and Present. 

~ not only to write about the tragedy of circumstances that led to Dot’s homelessness, but also the network of support for her, once she was mentally at a point when she could accept help, because to do this and to ask takes a great deal of courage.

That is so apparent in the current crisis. People like to be independent and do not wish to be reliant on others, but once the step is taken it is such a relief to know that support is close by; overwhelming even.

Even closer to home I am sure you have noticed that there’s so much community spirit. It is certainly the case around here but I’m sure there are similar stories in the rest of the UK and even around the world, inspired by the needs provoked by Covid 19.

Locally there’s KSS, Kinghorn Support Squad, which if you read quickly looks like KISS ~ a lovely name. This support group was set up by our Provost about three years ago for those casual volunteers who did not want to join a group on a regular basis, but were happy to help out whenever they could. Examples of this was setting up and dismantling the furniture for the village show and also as Marshalls for the Black Rock Race.

Through this crisis this group have been stalwarts, available for food and medication drops and delivering letters and postcards explaining where folks can ask for help or arrange deliveries if they need it. In fact many, many more have volunteered to be part of KSS to become paet of the steering group, street coordinators and on hand to sort out local Foodbank drops if necessary. It is often the street coordinators who keep in touch with people locally and sort out any needs as they arise; a network ensuring that no person is missed or forgotten.

The church and the Lunch Club for the elderly have also been involved, as they always have, in ensuring everyone is safe and has someone to talk to and to help them.

In our neighbouring town of Burntisland BEAT has been established and their remit is quite wide, including  dog walking, providing toys for children in need and also food drops, organised through a central hub rather than the satellite approach of Kinghorn.

Each  way has been developed with the needs of the local communities in mind and show a resilience and caring attitude which prevails, whatever the circumstances.

The Kirkcaldy Foodbank continues with its support and although in the first few weeks the need grew exponentially and the provisions sourced from local supermarkets on a regular basis was scarce, they have continued to be the back bone in ensuring that no person locally goes hungry or lacks essential toiletries. In fact there has been a huge drive to give the Foodbank extra support through this time, both in terms of food and donations of money.

It is easy to become overwhelmed by the need, like a vast almost impenetrable chasm, but Michael and Dot’s stories are uplifting and ensure that we are left with an overriding sense of HOPE.

 

 

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Filed under Events, Fife, MISSING Past and Present, Planning a novel, Research, Writing a novel

Big Issue Vendors ~ Have you ever wondered what happened to them?

SLOGAN: ‘A HAND UP, NOT A HAND OUT’

big issueI’m a great supporter of The Big Issue and enjoy the paper when I can get it. With high streets declining, the opportunities for selling must have been shrinking in recent times ~ and then came this Corona Virus. In this crisis it is the poorest in our society who are suffering most throughout the world, but The Big Issue are doing all they can to keep in touch and support their vendors as best they can.

How is the good work continuing?

By keeping in touch with their vendors with advice and support.

By direct payments to vendors to support them through this impossible situation.

They explain, “Together, it has been decided that payments to vendors is the most effective way to provide some financial relief to vendors across the country. Earlier in the lockdown, payments were made to just over 1,500 Big Issue vendors. Vendors will now be supported with a regular financial payment until the end of July. At that time, we shall once again review the situation.

The Big Issue Foundation has allocated £250,000 towards these regular payments.”

By a Tour de Flat!    which was streamed by the BBC.

By subscribing to The Big Issue for 3 month.

There are many Supporters Blogs where you can see what fundraising is being held.

The Big Issue Foundation do more than just organise their vendors and fundraising. They give advice on Housing, Welfare and Health, Addiction, Finance, Employment, Education and Personal Development.

Why am I inspired to write this post? The protagonist Dot, in my recently released novel ‘MISSING, Past and Present’ becomes homeless through no fault of her own. Writing her story made me realise how quickly your life could be turned upside down by events totally beyond your control. Dot was forced to leave her home and everything she knew and she trudged lanes and footpath seeking solace and a new direction in her life. Maybe she needed The Big Issue to help her along, in fact she did become a vendor for a little while …..

 

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Filed under Events, MISSING Past and Present

Homelessness ~ So Much Need but Some Good News in London

homelessI had intended to do a series of blog post about the issues which arise in my new novel, MISSING Past and Present, because they are close to my heart. These include Homelessness.

Dorothy, my protagonist, found herself homeless through no fault of her own, but she discovered a safely net. Some people are not so lucky at the moment.

I had no idea at the time of writing the novel that we would be facing such a crisis as Covid 19 now, but I’m going to begin this series nevertheless, by looking towards London, the epicentre of this crisis in Britain, in search of some good things that are happening to relieve the suffering:

1 Centrepoint in London continues to offer support for homeless young people. They give a roof over their heads and assist them if they are self isolating due to the virus. Being homeless in London is tragic at the best of times but now things are desperate. Read about some of the people here: Centrepoint.org.uk

Single Homeless Project is another positive story of so many lives changed for the better. This is what they aim to do at the Single Homeless Project, but if you would like to read some heart warming stories, do pop on to their website: https://www.shp.org.uk/

More than 1,000 homeless Londoners made safe

‘SHP is working with local government and charity partners across the capital to keep the city’s rough sleepers safe amid the COVID 19 pandemic. It is a charity which not only gives support but aims to transform lives.’

And finally another good news story:

3 Rough Sleepers in London Given Hotel Rooms in the crisis

Visit Stuart Bramhall’s blog post to read about it.

In every town and village across the country community spirit is shining through this period of darkness and fear and so it is also with the most vulnerable in our society. There are many ideas for raising money on each of the websites, or if you have any cash to spare then you can donate to support this vital work.

While I was writing about Dot (Dorothy), her resilience and fortitude guided her through the most traumatic of times, but she lived in the countryside surrounding the little imaginary country town of Drumford, so like many English market towns of today. Due to her location, her issues were quite different to these poor folks in London and so I’ll address them in the next post.

 

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Filed under Events, MISSING Past and Present