Five weeks later and I’ve found some time to blog again. I’m having to pay more attention to where I put my efforts – people are getting to know that there’s another helpful chap around. I am, sooner or later, going to have to get used to disappointing people and saying no, but not quite yet…
- We “processed” 24 babies at the baby clinic. To be clear, I don’t do any of the actual weighing, measuring or advice-giving, I just say hello to the parents, make them tea and encourage them to stick around to talk to each other. 3 families had arrived before the nurses got here – word is spreading that if you want to get in and out quickly, you need to be early. Nonetheless, people really appreciate a no pressure cup of tea with an environment in which they can chat but also feed comfortably and do a change if needed.
- After that I did my first Lunch Club where I was down as a helper but couldn’t do much until after 12.30. I did lend a hand serving and clearing and washing up, oh and eating, obvs. Lunch Club is our monthly meal for older people, mainly for members of the congregation but we don’t enforce that too strongly!
- I’ve also had my introduction to the plans for “Holiday at Home” which is a whole day, in August, of activities for our older friends – there’s also talk of a Church Outing in the air…
- We had a visit from a Church member and her family to take infra-red pictures of the church to see whether there were obvious places where insulation is missing or not working. My favourite images are of the underfloor heating snaking around in the sanctuary.
- I introduced some collaging to Sunflower Café on Wednesday, although I had to play hunt the pritt-stick first. We keep trying different things to stimulate people’s minds in different ways. Just picking up scissors and cutting a complex shape can be a stretch, in a good way.
- Meanwhile nextdoor we had 180 or so people for Bach to Baby – this month was a piano and flute recital. It’s a relaxed event, so no need to worry about a little one who gets noisy or needs to move around.
- I had a good chat with Liz Slade from the UK Unitarians. We’ve met before through Dougald but since then we’ve both started working in churches, although she’s facing national issues in contrast to the hyperlocal that I experience. It was good though to talk about how you go deeper than the small talk that can often fill church activities and make rich connections between people.
- No bowls club as it was half-term, but the tea-dance went ahead. I’m still working on how best to engage and involve the students from the university’s Ballroom Dancing Society and bring a bit of intergenerational zing to the proceedings.
- Speaking of which I went down to the Intergenerational Music Making “hub” at the Electric Theatre on Friday to see how they were getting on. They’ve started writing a song together and I joined in with getting a melody together. I’m hoping that we can support them more, there’s a bit of crossover with our dementia-friendly work but there should be other ways we can collaborate too.
I started working as Community Worker at Guildford United Reformed Church in the middle of last November. It was fun trying to find my feet working in a church for the first time in the weeks running up to Christmas. I’ve settled into a bit more of a routine now and started writing weeknotes, primarily for the members of the church to know what I’m up to and what I’m thinking about. But I’m going to share them here too (hopefully earlier than Tuesday in future!) for you, the readers of ye olde perficked patthe weblogge, whose thinking continues to help make my thinking.
Weeknotes for week 2 of 2020
A brief summary of the week beginning 13th January – I aim for brevity but that can end up opaque, so if there’s anything you want to understand better, please do send me a message or pop in and see me at the church. I’m mostly here weekday mornings.
- I like to start the week with my friends from the Bowls Club who come in on Monday morning to play Rummikub or Scrabble. There’s always room for more, especially for keen Scrabble players, and I’m sure we could make room for other games if there was enough demand. Bowls proper happens on Thursday mornings in the hall, regularly attracting at least a dozen players.
- I took part in an Older People’s Network meeting organised by Voluntary Action South West Surrey. Very interesting for me to see how many other people are wrestling with similar issues and heartening to know that there are lots of potential collaborations we could do.
- I’m starting to think about how to build further on some of the things we do and how we know that we’re doing the right things as well as doing things right. I’m looking at all of the activities and trying to see how they could be even better, as well as building some rigour into how we assess the success of activities. I like to frame that as “what’s the best that this group could possibly be?” to stretch our imaginations about what can be achieved, even if we never quite reach perfection!
- I spent Saturday in Safeguarding Training, thinking about ensuring the well-being of all the people who use the church. While not wanting to drown myself and others in paperwork, there are definitely things we could be more clear about and be better at including it in the process we go through whenever we set something new up.
- This Sunday was Church Meeting, which is a great chance for me to see people from the congregation that I might not get much time with in the day to day work. We had a very interesting discussion about being a more eco-friendly church and this is a strong theme in the work I want to do. I believe it can be an important bridge, especially between the generations. The challenge is to create opportunities for us to do our bit on climate change without pushing all the work onto members and volunteers who already have more than enough to do. So I’ll be thinking creatively about how we collaborate with others and bring new people in to help around this important issue.
I’ve been here a week! So this is an attempt at a log in the sense that Austin Kleon uses – it’s just a list of simple facts.
- In every day.
- Had one meeting.
- Wrote three blog posts.
- Met lots of new people.
- Drank a lot of coffee.
- Had a wander around the immediate neighbourhood.
- Drafted a little e-mail about my coaching offer and asked for feedback.
- Went to a Digital Leaders Salon about Digital High Streets over at Finsbury Sq.
- Came to Blog Club.
- That’ll do.
These facts might get more complicated and interesting over time. Or maybe not.