Crisis to Opportunity: Solution-Focused Responses to Social Impact of COVID-19
In May 2020, at the height of the Covid 19 lockdown, Hope in the Heart was fortunate to recieve funding from the National Lottery Community Fund for an online project to unite and support women through interactive solution-focused workshops designed to build resilience and hope and inspire each other through the crisis..
Adapting Gloriously! (formal title, Crisis to Opportunity: Solution-Focused Responses to Social Impact of COVID-19) took place from May through September 2020, following our previous Lottery-funded project, Ageing Gloriously! which began with face to face workshops for women over 50 and ended with online gatherings at the beginning of lockdown.
The aim of the project was to provide a solution-focused toolbox of dynamic resources to alleviate anxiety and encourage sustainable positive lifestyle changes and proactive community involvement relevant to the COVID-19 situation. Inter-generational communication was modelled by Hope in the Heart directors Tam and Sophie (below) to facilitate a broadening of outlook and valuable compassionate connection between older and younger women, with a project-wide emphasis on celebrating diversity while embracing common humanity.
The thumbnail photos in the heading at the top of the page are screenshots from Zoom interviews with just a few of the glorious women who have taken part in this project and you will see some of their comments about the project interspersed below.
I love the diversity of the women and the wisdom and experience that we share. My soul is filled being a participant. I always feel more joyful after a session
I feel tremendously privileged to have been part of this project.
you are made to feel welcome, valued, appreciated & honoured, equally with everyone else - the staff join in like another member
Learning to use Zoom was a challenge for many of us, facilitators and participants alike, but we were delighted that so many women persevered to join us in building a community based on compassion, resilence, hope and mutual support. (Our delight continues with the continuation and evolution of this community via our current project Transcending Covid - New Beginnings.)
While we navigated the steep learning curve that was Zoom, a Facebook group was developed as an ongoing "home base" for women of all ages, entitled Adapting Gloriously - One Glorious Thing. The group is still thriving. By the end of the project it numbered 166 members (from five continents, with the majority in the South West of England) and at the time of writing the numbers are still rising. All women are welcome to join and participate or just enjoy the positive ethos.
It has made me feel more connected and less alone... it has helped reduce the social isolation and therefore mental health issues.
I have been enjoying and feel privileged to be part of beautiful women who are compassionate, creative and support each others during this lockdown and challenging time.
There is nothing else like this that I know of, it is the only times I have met similar ladies to me, similar age, living near me mostly - it is the only way I could have met these ladies.
Tam and Sophie encouraged members (and still do) to notice and post photographs and narratives of postive (glorious!) things that nourish and sustain them, giving them hope during this challenging time, as well as solutions to the many challenges faced by everyone. They posed regular questions that encouraged positive reflection. Workshops (which took place at least twice a week during lockdown) were publicised via the group page, along with inspiring literature, materials and updates. A core group of members posted regularly, and others occasionally, and relationships were developed through this medium as well the Zoom workshops. Indeed, it was remarkable how many new friendships were born without the individuals meeting face to face at all. As lockdown eased participation became more relaxed, with the group page and workshops evolving to reflect the needs of members - as they continue to do within the current project.
Workshops focused on self-care, relational connection, and a wide variety of virtues including gratitude, creativity, compassion, assertiveness, hope, resilience and love. In addition to the regular weekly sessions, we offered short creative personal development courses and some one-to-one sessions with Tam for those who needed a little extra support or guidance. We continually invited participant feedback to assess the needs of our members as circumstances changed, and made every effort to incorporate their ideas and requests in the evolution of the project. We were very happy with the enriching outcomes of this co-production.
I really enjoy the zoom meetings... I think they are the safe way forward especially for my age group (70), and not having to travel.
I have LOVED taking part in the weekly workshops. They have been truly valuable during lockdown, helping to ease the sense of isolation and separateness and helped to ease my anxiety about the strangeness of the Covid situation
For someone like myself, living on my own after moving to (my home) 20 years ago - not working and past the age of going to pubs and meeting other people in that social way, this has been a lifeline
The Adapting Gloriously! community has continued strongly beyond the life of the initial project, and members continue to support each other and contribute to the Facebook group page. Many of the participants are now taking part in our new project Transcending Covid - New Beginnings, funded by the government's Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund.
Below are some comments from participant evaluations, and beneath those you can see some photos and snippets of posts that appeared on the Facebook group page during the project, as members generously shared their "glorious things" - from hedgehog rescues to video story-times with grandchildren, art projects, nature's bounty, inspiring poems, healthy recipes, gardening triumphs and much more.
My experience of lockdown would have been very different without the zoom workshops. I would undoubtably have been very isolated without. This has made a difficult situation much more enjoyable and to my delight sociable.
Thank you Sophie and Tam for offering your energy and time to us.. More of this is what humanity needs!
PHOTOS AND SNIPPETS FROM THE FACEBOOK GROUP PAGE ADAPTING GLORIOUSLY! - ONE GLORIOUS THING
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE PART OF THIS CONTINUING COMMUNITY OF GLORIOUS WOMEN PLEASE CONTACT firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com