‘Walk and Talk’ eats meetings for breakfast 😉

Loneliness / isolation is everywhere. It can affect anyone. It can affect you. #ConnectingForGood was launched in Coventry today to combat this. Don’t stop reading if you are not in the Coventry area. Honestly, it is so simple. You could do this anywhere. YOU could do this.

I had been looking forward to the event: meeting friends and hopefully making a few new ones. Rather than jumping in the car, I caught the bus into town to help me think about ‘all things community’. How much it matters to have transport connecting people.

There have been a great build up on Twitter!

The sun was shining. My mind wandered as I walked across town. So many memories. I worked here for more years than I care to remember. Most of the time I was very happy but the last couple of years I was undermined and isolated. Isolation and loneliness comes in many forms.

Shelton Square was pretty empty. I remembered how our #CovMindTheGap ‘magic mile walk’ had brought it alive. Community magic.

#CovMindTheGap ⏩ #ConnectingForGood

It is worth dipping into these links. #CovMindTheGap was a brilliant community-led energy fest. It paved the way for #ConnectingForGood. #CovMindTheGap: The Movie: https://youtu.be/wlZ7EC3MPfw #CovMindTheGap: The original story - how it all came about: https://steller.co/s/63vgBwfnvck #CovMindTheGap - What we did: https://steller.co/s/6FWenBsUnRV

A powerful image from our #CovMindTheGap Whose Shoes community event, drawn by the very talented Anna Geyer.

Lots of good stuff is already happening in Coventry. But clearly it doesn’t reach everyone. How to set up a social movement that will make a difference across the city? This is the #ConnectingForGood challenge and it is very exciting to hear that Grapevine (my favourite coproduction organisation!) have got lottery funding to take this forward.

Walking across the city there were crowded places. And people on their own. You can be on your own and extremely happy. You can be in a crowd and extremely lonely. No one knows how you are feeling inside.

As I approached the meeting point, I could see the group of people I was due to meet. The organisers are my #CovMindTheGap friends so I felt a buzz of excitement wondering who I would spot first.

Mel ! @grapevineyp

Soon I was chatting to other people. It is so easy to start chatting in the open air, when everyone is smiling and enjoying themselves.

I love events that bring young people and older people together. I was looking forward to meeting some Coventry young activists!

There were far more people than anticipated (which is a very good thing!) so Mel invited everyone to come close so that they could hear… and we headed off on our ‘walk and talk’, stopping periodically to hear people’s stories.

I really enjoyed meeting Jess. We had connected on Twitter and I learned that she is one of the community workers for this project. A great appointment!

Everyone started chatting with whoever they were walking with. It all felt very natural. So much better than ‘introducing yourself around the table’ – one of my personal pet hates, and something we NEVER do in #WhoseShoes. 🙈

Mel and Clare were brilliant. They spoke with passion about #ConnectingForGood and we were all proud to be part of this launch event.

Clare talked about when she was at school and she had a gut feeling that some children were not included. At that young age she didn’t know what to do about it. She does now!

And then it was Jess’s turn.

Yay! The first time I have seen Rishard and Richard performing live!

Time to move on. More new conversations.

On to the Old Cathedral. I had just met Kerry - and now she was telling her story.

And last but not least, it was the turn of Coventry Young Activists. Making us think about exclusion. Autism, disability. Wanting to be accepted.

Mel explained different ways people to can get involved to help grow the #ConnectingForGood community.

#ConnectingForGood certainly made a lot of noise. And the lively connections continued as we made our way to Drapers for tea and cake. ☕️ 🍰

“Something WOW” is happening in Coventry‼️ Join us! 💜 #ConnectingForGood

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