Interactions valuable to all
Pam Coleman Community engagement librarian
Scotland has just come out of lockdown restrictions meaning life is going back to a “normal” that we have been lucky enough to have experienced for nigh on a year now. Lockdown may have granted time to some, and many people relished it. People found new hobbies, new perspectives and new connections. Some people found themselves. However, having talked to my parents, my Mum reported missing the micro-interactions with people in her community, which was for her, pretty impossible to facilitate via digital communication. The ability to just stop, gossip, laugh, joke and do all the things that you do face-to-face was an important loss to her. She missed popping down to the local shops and visiting the library — not just for books but for the little interactions from people who she might not even know the name of. Dad however, had more of a challenge. While he has always been a social, jolly person, he is experiencing some cognitive changes as he ages. Like many of us he was lonely before Covid and interactions have become even more challenging now. This isn’t a common problem and can affect people of all ages, backgrounds with or without the occurrence of a pandemic and lockdown. This week however, Dad took himself off to the first meeting of the local Men’s Shed group. It took sheer guts and determination overcoming his anxiety and I am incredibly proud and humbled by this. Clubs, associations and meet-ups can have a genuinely positive effect on our wellbeing, our mental health and our sense of ourselves. It’s timely that on Saturday July 31 we are holding a clubs expo, “Let’s Go Clubbing,” which will showcase many of the clubs our community has on offer. A number of cultural, sporting, or activity-based clubs will have stalls on display in the Youth Space and Main space areas and there really will be something for everyone. The aim of the expo is to highlight the fantastic activities available in our community and to encourage people to stretch themselves and try something new. It is free and it’s not too late to register your club. If so, contact email@example.com. It is never too late to begin a new hobby. I’ll be there taking a leaf out of my Dad’s book. See you there?