We found it really interesting to read the new report from The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) – the Pillars of Community – which identified what’s needed for a thriving community.
We see evidence of these pillars – security, human connection and belonging – first hand in communities and our work across Derbyshire.
The pandemic changed the way we live our lives. Not necessarily all for the better, but one of the positives we noticed was community spirit flourished.
Community spirit means different things to different people. We believe human connections are central to it, creating a shared feeling of genuine interest and support. From a simple hello to your neighbour to street parties lined with bunting. What the pandemic took away from us socially, it gave us back in opportunities to support others and make new – albeit socially distanced – connections around a common subject.
Last year, during the first lockdown we captured lots of stories which highlighted this community spirit in action. Neighbours checking in on each other, volunteers making food deliveries and support networks which appeared overnight are just some of the many examples.
We also experienced it as a team as we worked through it, adapting to our new ways of working at home. Because community doesn’t just necessarily mean where you live, it’s anywhere you feel you belong. We found community spirit as we checked in with each other over Zoom or sent Whatsapp messages to share funny stories.
We also saw it happening in workplaces like Call Derbyshire, who we work with on our Fit 4 Life initiative. When other colleagues were working from home, a team remained in the office who rallied round an appreciated the sense of ‘normality’ it brought them.
You can read more of these in our report below which also looks at the challenges facing communities around this time.