Harvesting acts of kindness
The content in this article may now be out of date. Please try searching for a more recent version.
When you were at school did you ever take in a couple of tins of beans or a can of fruit cocktail to add to the pile of food on the stage for the harvest festival?
I’m from Ireland, and at home the celebration is traditionally known as Lughnasa (I only know this as we were made to study the movie 'Dancing at Lughnasa' at school). For some reason, our school didn’t deliver any food to people in need. I hate to think of anyone going without so this has always bothered me a little.
I’m delighted to say that this is not the case in the Cotswolds where I manage supported housing schemes for older people. This week, children from local schools are going to deliver 'gifts' to the older people. In South Cerney they will take the time to call in to see the older people personally and at St Birinus Court the children are bringing in cakes. When I delivered the good news to the customers, I had such a positive reaction. Everyone is really looking forward to seeing the children (and the free cake, obviously).
I love this idea. I’m so passionate about helping older people feel less isolated by getting more involved in their community. I really think this is a stunning tradition and a clever way to build, and keep, relationships between young and old.
A teacher at Hatherop Castle in Lechlade told me more about the festival and what it means for them:
“We collect harvest gifts and distribute them amongst the local elderly and, over the years, we have also raised money for many causes including Send a Cow, Water Aid and this year, Save the Children.
“For us, the tradition has always been strong and we want to continue this.
“Our children are really good with people of all ages. We feel it is important for them to interact with older people with both sides benefitting when they get to come together.”
The teacher shares my enthusiasm on the mixing of young and old so I really feel we can learn a lot from each other. Young people can sometimes feel uncomfortable trying to chat to older people, likewise older people can sometimes see the worst in the ‘youth of today.’ How many times have we heard negative comments from one towards the other?
My aim is to connect the two where possible and this occasion is a perfect opportunity to show that we all have a lot to offer each other – no matter how old we are.
So spread the word people! Use this harvest idea to give help and support to others and to get involved in acts of kindness. Get out there and mix with the older people in your neighbourhood. This is so rewarding and worth it.
Remember, that one conversation with you may be the only one an older person may have all day… and sometimes the only one all week.
This post was written by Bromford colleague, Laura Moroney - here's a little bit about her.
My name is Laura Moroney and I’m a community connector working with older people in the South Cotswolds. I have a degree in social care and I have met some of the most interesting and inspiring people through my work. I have worked mostly in mental health so I am very passionate about this work and helping to challenge the prejudices and stigma that can sometimes be associated with it.
I’ve been lucky enough to laugh with people, and to learn from them. Older people have the most incredible, romantic and inspirational stories.
I’m going to be blogging on all the joys, humour and also struggles that come with my job. I will tell you stories about people's lives and keep you informed on older people's struggles.
I will hopefully make you smile, contemplate, and maybe even teary eyed along the way...so please stay tuned.