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Best of Cov – Ways to keep connected

23 April 2020

This week on our #5at5 on Instagram and Twitter, we asked the people of Coventry to share advice and tips on how they are keeping connected during the lockdown. We had responses about keeping in touch with friends, family and communities, but we thought this submission from @durbanmamauk on Twitter was really inspiring during these tough circumstances; “@TheBelles2 (The Belles of Three Spires Choir) are rehearsing via Zoom“.

Here they are in action!

Our Best of Cov blog this week is exploring ways to stay connected whilst in lockdown, which is one of Mind’s Five Ways to Wellbeing. Staying connected with your loved ones is important for our mental health, especially when we can’t physically be with them. This can become much harder when we have to spend most of our days inside and it easy to only think about social media as ways to keep connected, but there are so many ways you can connect and not just with friends, family and work colleagues, but with the environment, with art, with nature and yourself.

Here are some resources to help you stay connected.

  1. Share your photography with the community.
    IGers are a community of Coventry and Warwickshire photographers that organises monthly ‘instameets’, such as workshops or photo walks. Whilst these meetups can’t happen, IGers are sharing daily features of the best community photography to showcase the beauty of Coventry and Warwickshire on their social media. So, if you happen upon a beautiful spot or sight during your walks or permitted time outside the house, then take a picture and share it on Instagram using the hashtags #igerscoventry and #igerswarwickshire. This is a great way to connect with your surroundings and your community. Check out their Instagram here.

 

  1. You can’t go to the nightlife, so bring the nightlife to you!
    New Vibes is a movement which makes the Coventry nightlife scene more inclusive to those with disabilities, isolation and anxiety. As we all know, all clubs and bars have been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but this isn’t stopping New Vibes! On Fridays at 6:30pm they are hosting live DJ sets via Zoom. The event is completely free and open to everyone – a great way to connect with new people with a shared love of music.  You can find out more about the event here.

 

  1. Connect through crafting.
    If you enjoy sitting down and doing something creative to help you relax then Creative Kindness has the workshop for you. Aimed at adults and kids, Creative Kindness are encouraging the people of Coventry to connect with likeminded people during the lockdown by hosting online crafting workshops. The workshops help people learn new skills and stay creative, but also help to battle isolation during the lockdown. The workshops take place via Zoom on Thursdays at 10:30 am. You can learn more here.

 

  1. Have a chat with new people.
    Voluntary Action Coventry have had to suspend their drop-in sessions due to the pandemic. However, they still recognise the importance of keeping connected and avoiding increased loneliness and isolation. Voluntary Action are running a variety of different online sessions, social gatherings and activities, as well as phone calls and letter writing. If you want to take part as a participant or a volunteer you can contact Heather Parker Chat Central Coordinator via email chatcentral@vacoventry.org.uk. You can find more information here.

 

  1. Sing your heart out.
    Nothing brings people together like music. Which is why Escape Arts has started the Great Escape Community Choir. Every Friday at 4pm the choir will get together via Zoom, have a chat and good old sing. This is a great way to stay connected to a hobby you love, or to get a new hobby and meet new people. Songs include, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, Unchained Melody, Hey Jude and much more! If you want to take part, then email info@escapearts.org.uk. You can find out more here.

If none of these seem right for you, then why not do something completely your own?

Host an online dinner party, watch party or pub quiz.
If you have access to a smart phone or laptop, why not get your friends or family together for a night of fun. Plan a menu and all cook the same thing for a dinner party, all write a round for a huge pub quiz or all decide on a film or TV show you can watch at the same time. Set up a call and all chat and have a night ‘out’ together. Just remember to try and have some fun and relax during this difficult time. It will make it much easier to deal with! Here are some more ideas.

We know that not everyone has access to the internet or digital technology, so for those who want some ways to connect offline. Here are some bonus ideas.

  1. Make sure you get out of the house once a day.
    Just stepping out of the front door can help you to feel connected with the outside world. If you go on a walk and see other people, smile at them, say hello and have a chat from a safe distance. When you go to the shop, talk to the cashier and ask how they are getting on. It will make all the difference to have a nice conversation with someone.
  2. Rediscover the art of letter writing.
    Facetime and phone calls not really your thing? Why not break out the pens and write letters to friends and family – it will keep your mind busy and also give you something to look forward too – you can also get the kids involved and get them to writer their own letters and include pictures and doodles.
  3. Talk to the neighbours.
    If you have a garden or communal outside space, make sure you take the opportunity to talk to your neighbours and ask how they are doing. They will do the same and might even offer help if you need assistance with the shopping or taking the dog for a walk – and you can do the same. To find out more about how you can volunteer to help your community, read out first Best of Cov blog here.
  4. You can access free digital training if you are a Lloyds Banking Group customer.

If you are a customer of Lloyds Bank, Halifax or Bank of Scotland and meet the vulnerable person criteria, you might be eligible for free digital training to help you get online banking and stay connected during the lockdown. Lloyds Banking Group has partnered with Coventry based digital and financial inclusion training company, We Are Digital, to provide the training. You can find out more here.

 

We hope you found this blog useful and we would love to hear from you about ways that you have been staying connected, or any initiatives that we may have missed. You can contact us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can join in the conversation using the hashtag #BestofCov. You can also email us at info@coventry2021.co.uk.

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