Peter Jung (Operations Manager, Turning Point Scotland & ARC UK Chair) discusses the importance of kindness within the local community and the negative impact of loneliness.
Recently, I was lucky enough to be at an event that had a presentation from Zoe Ferguson from the Carnegie Trust. With the support of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Zoe had been working with seven organisations to test what, if anything, could be done to encourage ‘Kinder Communities’, exploring ideas around the importance of places and opportunities to connect, and the intrinsic values underpinning our interactions and relationships.
Zoe’s report suggests kindness is at the very heart of our wellbeing and this is hard to disagree with. Many supported people across the UK face huge challenges in becoming a part of the communities where they live and, in my experience, loneliness can be the biggest challenge of all. Humans are social animals and our lives are enriched by human connection. The absence of connection can have a deeply negative impact on the lives of people and limit the scope for so many things most of us take for granted.
There are examples of positive efforts for change. In Dumfries and Galloway they are testing a “friends” badge which is a far lighter approach to identifying volunteers, and Tesco in Maryhill (Glasgow) have an unwritten rule that no one goes on their mobile phone in the staff room ensuring everyone has time to value each others company. These are little steps but steps none the less and I would challenge you all to think about what you can do to make things better in the places you work or live in.
‘If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together’
Zoe ended her presentation by sharing an African proverb ‘If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together’ – to me, it stands to reason that kinder communities will help us go far.
You can download the report here, and watch the film here – share the report and film with any of your colleagues, stakeholders or networks who you think may find it useful or interesting. You can also join in the conversation at @CarnegieUKTrust #kindness
Operations Manager, Turning Point Scotland & ARC UK Chair