Image: Max Connelly-Webster

It’s time to put community first

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We live in a world that has become increasingly disconnected. Whilst the millennials of today are very active in politics, social issues and global concerns, we have become far too concerned with our own virtual lives. How many likes we get on Facebook, ‘hearts’ on Instagram and favourites on Twitter have become a staple to us. We constantly compare our lives to other peoples on social media, but people seem to forget that this simply isn’t representative of everyday life. It distracts us from the real issues at hand.

It is easy to rely on social media to make a change, sharing articles, liking posts and thinking that this means we’re making a difference or that it shows we care. Simply put, this isn’t enough. The Harvard Study on happiness proves a life well-lived is one with close relationships; with family, friends and the community. With such a global reach combined we forget this community. I know I’m guilty of not knowing all my neighbours – and I’m sure you are too.

The message that needs to become apparent is that we can make a difference

At this time of year, it is especially important for us to disconnect from social media, and re-connect with those around us. It’s now December and the nights have got bitterly cold. I wanted to do something that would actually make a difference, or at least try and support the forgotten ones of my community – the homeless. As I type this from my comfortable, warm flat in Leamington Spa they are on the streets in sleeping bags. I spotted, this year in particular, that there seems to have been an increase in the numbers of homeless on the streets, but there has not been in an increase in care.

It is time to take a step back and look at those around you. See who you can help and how you can make a difference

I decided to post about this on Facebook, which has since led to me setting up a group called ‘Community Matters’. Within two days I had forty people who were willing to help, with almost all of them stating they “thought the same”, “wanted to help” or had “thought about doing something similar.” And that’s it. The message that needs to become apparent is that we can make a difference. Whether it’s on a large scale or not, making those around you happy and providing them with a warm meal and a cup of tea can make all the difference.

It is time to take a step back and look at those around you. See who you can help and how you can make a difference. Connect to your community, care for the people around you, and spread it from there.

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