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"After all, in a world where the social fabric seems to be rapidly fraying, the economy is uncertain, and the future of the planet is at risk, is there a better way to hit the reset button than to come back to the neighborhood level and begin to genuinely rely on one another again?"

(Amanda Abrams)

Spreading Community Kindness and Connection, not COVID-19, Fear and Social Disconnection

Welcome to Edition 3. Thank you to so many colleagues and friends who have shared inspiring stories of hope and community building resources from around the globe. The Bank of I.D.E.A.S. is encouraged by the wave of incredible and creative community and neighbour actions that are occurring everywhere.
 
COVID-19 has brought many changes, most of which we did not expect, nor want. But it has also brought some silver linings and unexpected joys, especially in the ways people are reaching out and supporting each other. It is proving a great opportunity to build a richer sense of community, citizenship and deeper ties with each other. It is demonstrating so clearly that people yearn for community connection and value the experiences of mutual concern and compassion, instead of living in an environment characterised by individualism, consumerism, competition, and alienation. The Bank of I.D.E.A.S is excited by the prospect of community reinvention that will emerge from the shadows.
 
This Edition introduces two new themes to the content. Firstly, humour! Laughter can be such good medicine in trying times’ according to Russell Deal. Another friend, colleague and Canberra community builder, Karen Jesson recently shared - “It is wonderful to see all the amazing creative ideas that are starting to be shared, some are really fun. Laughter is great medicine and with social media it makes it so much easier for us to share some joy. Traditional media I think could also start to share a few more positive stories, so those who don't have access to social media can also experience some of these stories. Wouldn't it be great to see our news readers end their program with a joke, a funny story etc, what a great way to end their shift.
 
Secondly, many of our stories and resources are beginning to move from ‘survival’ to ‘recovery’, especially in terms of local economic and employment development. Below are some great examples of this in action and the supports being put in place to create local eco-systems for entrepreneurial and novel development.
 
In terms of an inspiring and practical article, click here to read the words of Canadian John Lord “Four Things to do During Pandemic to Enhance Our Community and Wellbeing”. Those four tips are - 

  • Enhance the solitude
  • Strengthen our ties with others
  • Simplify our lives
  • Reach out to neighbours, especially to those who are vulnerable.

Finally, our instinct in any crisis is to bunker down, stay safe and simply survive. But can we leave you with this challenging quote by Rahm Emanuel - “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. Things that we had postponed for too long, that were long-term, are now immediate and must be dealt with. A crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not do before.”

Go well, stay safe and keep inspiring,

Peter Kenyon
Bank of I.D.E.A.S.

www.bankofideas.com.au
Bank of I.D.E.A.S. Facebook Page

Tom Moore and his 100 Laps


How Inspirational! Tom is a 99-year-old British war veteran who had a simple idea to raise money for the British National Health Service - walking laps of his garden (pictured above). Tom, who has used a walking frame with wheels since breaking his hip, set himself the target of walking the 25 metres around his garden 100 times before his 100th birthday on April 30 with the aim of raising a 1000 pounds. His story captured national and international interest and he has raised 16 million pounds (AUD$30 million)!! He has completed his initial mission but has vowed to "keep on going”. Click here to read and see his story.
(Photo courtesy ABC News and Joe Giddens)
 

Stephen Wall and Neighbourhood Operas


Stephen Wall is a classically trained tenor and veteran Seattle (USA) Opera performer, has been giving daily 5 p.m. performances on weekdays for the last two weeks. These are short 15-20-minute operas, accompanied by a recorded orchestral score playing on an amplifier. Each night, neighbours gather at an appropriate distance to watch; and enjoy in these crazy times.  Click here to learn more. Great to see how these times are allowing people to naturally share their skills and assets and connect with neighbours to counter the boredom that COVID-19 has inflicted on many lives.
(Photo courtesy Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

Little Pantries


Across the globe, it is great seeing community builders utilising the ‘Little library’ idea to set up ‘little pantries’ to enable local residents to donate and access basic essentials. Click here to read about how a Seattle chef’s Little Free Pantry in front of her home is inspiring others who want to help their neighbours.
(Photo courtesy The Seattle Times and Molly Harmon)
 

Actions by Local Governments in the Perth Metropolitan Area


Click here to read about the diversity of actions being taken by a number of Perth local governments; including - 
  • COVID-19 call centres
  • Welfare check on all 65+ residents
  • Seconding staff to local community organisations to assist with actions like food delivery to vulnerable residents
  • One-on-one business welfare checks and consultations
  • Acceleration of major construction and ‘shovel ready’ works projects to enable local job creation
  • Library book delivery services
  • Planning for reactivation of public spaces and CBD areas
  • Slashing service and parking charges for businesses
  • Rent relief
  • Financial grant support payments to local organisations.

Sikh Community in Seattle


Before the novel coronavirus existed, the Degh Tegh Community Kitchen was already helping people. Run by the local Sikh community, the Kitchen was serving 500 meals every Saturday to local homeless shelters. With the spread of the virus, the Seattle-area Sikh community came together to do much more, and are now providing hot meals to hospital staff. Click here to read their story.
(Photo courtesy The Seattle Times and Degh Tegh Community Kitchen)

'Live Happy' Organisation, Goa, India


Click here to read the inspiring story of Felly Gomes and the work of ‘Live Happy’ in providing support and food relief to migrant families often whose plight is often ignored. 

Chalk Art with Inspiring Messages are Everywhere!


Check out the day organised by the SPARCK Group– a group committed to ‘igniting acts of kindness in the community of Chatham-Kent, Canada.

Online Resources to Cope with COVID-19 Boredom


Running short of ideas to amuse yourself or share with bored grandchildren, then click here to view an impressive list of ‘At Home Resources’ – amazing options!!

Living Histories 


A community group in the Sunraysia Region of Victoria, prior to COVID-19 completed a fascinating “Living Histories” Project, where 15 Senior “storytellers” in the Prince’s Court age care facility in Mildura, shared their life and family story with 15 “volunteer writers”. The physical outcomes in late February was the publication of a book containing the 15 stories and a family and friends book launch event. However, the real social outcome was the connection process, including the personal bonding between “storyteller” and “writer” and the engagement of family - especially grandchildren discovering the full story of their grandparents. 

Click here to read an article on the Project.

Its success has motivated other community groups across Australia to replicate the Project, especially in these COVID-19 times, when such connections are so much more important for our Seniors. Funding is being raised to produce a “how to handbook” and to seed similar projects in other communities. For more information, contact the instigator of the concept - Vernon Knight on vernon.knight1@bigpond.com  
 

Fuelling the Frontline


This is the name of a campaign by St John of God Hospital in Midland (Western Australia) that enables the public to support frontline health workers by donating to a fund that goes directly to hospital cafes, which then provide coffee and hot drinks to the staff. Such an initiative sought to overcome the issues related to infection control measures when the public wanted to donate food and other goods to support staff.

Teddies Make the Virus Bearable


This is the name of a cute article from Echo News about how bears not COVID-19 are taking over the Perth Hills, and the ‘Going on a Bear Hunt’ movement. Click here to read.

Bellingen Shire in NSW

This rural Shire in NSW, Australia are really doing some interesting initiatives regarding their Pandemic Response Group, its Connection Centre and COVID-19 website -

We love the words of Dean Besley, Council’s  appointed facilitator of the Bellingen Shire Pandemic Response Group - “It’s all about helping community help itself. We don’t know what we’re facing, we just know we’re better if we do it together.”

Click here to find out more. 
Click here to view the Bellingen Shire Connects website.

Grow your own Vegetables and Raise your Own Fowls


Building on World War II, this is a great opportunity to encourage food self-sufficiency and community vegetable/fruit exchanges. The Darling Range Seniors Hub in Kalamunda, Western Australia has designed a $25 “Backyard Start Up Vegie Garden” and are distributing to interested Seniors. 
 

Post Pals


Click here to read the great story of students from Mundaring Christian College writing letters to residents in retirement homes and workers in health/emergency services with the message - ”YOU ARE NOT ALONE."
 

Examples of Humour


In the words of Lord Bryon - ‘Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine’.' Thanks to Franco Smargiassi  and Russell Deal for sharing with us the following humour. 

The Vashon Theatre, Seattle sharing their pandemic wisdom from the movies

Tips for Business Owners 


Below is a very simple, but practical set of ideas by the Swan Hill Rural City Council (Victoria, Australia) to help “get the tills ringing in local businesses."

"Keeping your main street open during COVID-19"


SEGRA, the major regional economic development network in Australia has been running a series of COVID-19 Webinars. While all are worth watching, there are a few in particular that are worth taking time to view - 

A great model is being developed  in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, click here to learn more.
Click here to view great examples of intervention from Mackay Regional Council, Queensland, Australia.
 

Webinar series for Small Towns in Rural and  Remote Australia


Rural Aid invites you to participate in the The Community Builders Series of free webinars, supporting small towns in rural and remote Australia.  
These weekly-run webinars, held 10am AEST every Tuesday from 5 May 2020, will focus on community rebuilding and resilience by bringing fresh ideas to help support your community. Topics covered are designed to inspire and help you prepare for post COVID-19. Ideas and discussions shared on long-term viability, being resilient in isolation, tourism initiatives, available grants and how to access them, and more.

Join Peter Kenyon from the Bank of Ideas and a range of guest presenters as we unpack these community building focused webinars. The webinars are free, but limited to 500 participants.  So don’t miss out, click on the links below and register today. 

Tuesday May 5th
What makes a great town?
Incl Graeme Robertson from Kulin WA

Tuesday May 12th 
Building good businesses in small towns
Incl Tom O’Toole from Beechworth Bakery 

Tuesday May 19th
The role and opportunities of tourism in a post Covid World 
Incl Mark Evans Paronella Park 

Tuesday May 26th
The role leadership plays in developing resilient communities

Tuesday June 2nd 
Finding your Community Asset Base – You’ll be surprised at what you have.

Tuesday June 9th
Grants for your Community incl Google Grants – How to get $10,000 USD in grants from Google for your community. 
 

Communknitty Crafters, City of Milton

The first Communknitty Crafters activity involved knitting Trauma Teddies for children experiencing illness or trauma. As a community based response to COVID-19, this is a great initiative not only to keep Seniors busy during this period of social isolation, but to keep them busy with a purpose. Council purchased 100 craft packs from a local small craft business (a real boost for them during these challenging times too) with enough supplies to knit two teddies. They delivered the packs to people’s house, practising social distancing of course, and will collect the completed teddies when they are ready. Then, the teddies will be given to the Red Cross to distribute to local kids in need.

To date, 60 enthusiastic Seniors have registered to participate, the oldest a 92 year old. The second project for the Communknitty involves Blanket Buddies- Seniors knitting or crocheting knee blankets for patients at the Peter Mac Cancer Centre. For more details see poster or contact Melton’s Positive Ageing Officer, Darren Cunningham via darrenc@melton.vic.gov.au

Business "Sur-Thrivers"


Don Mackie from e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems, USA, made a very interesting observation in their April special COVID-19 Newsletter - “Over the past month our conversations surrounding the pandemic and entrepreneurs have led us to believe there are some common threads to those businesses that will survive and thrive beyond this pandemic:
  • They were some of the quickest to recognize the potential impact and begin strategizing adaptations.
  • They are flexible, forward-looking, and see opportunity in challenges.
  • They are focused on the well-being of their employees and partners.
  • They see value in collaborating on solutions and supporting competitors even in a time of need.
In short, the "sur-thrivers" are the folks who are rooted in the community, are working toward the good of the whole, and will take away lessons for what can be done better in the future. Once we move into pandemic and recession recovery, growing community-centered entrepreneurial ecosystems will be more important than ever.”

Young People in Wilcannia, NSW take action to encourage People to Keep Driving and Not Stopping in their Town


Click here to find out how Aboriginal communities are coping with COVID-19 lockdown. 
(Photo Courtesy: ABC Regional & Local)

Solidarity Baskets for the Homeless, Naples, Italy

Click here to read how Naples residents are using an age old tradition of lowering baskets from apartments to share food and essential items with homeless people or those in need. 

The Creative Hedge

Click here to read the story of two ten year boys – Hamish and Noah Gonella in Mackay, Queensland, Australia  - motivated to do something to boost the morale of hospital workers after hearing news reports that some had been abused in other parts of the state. They created an appreciation hedge and an outlet for connection during isolation.  
(Photo Courtesy: ABC Tropical North / Melissa Maddison)

Andrew Fuller’s Great Adolescent Support Tools

Andrew is a great friend and supporter of BOI. He is an author, clinical Psychologist and family therapist and an Ambassador of Adolescent Success. Click here to check out his bio. 

He has provided for community use four very helpful and relevant resources focused on supporting young people during COVID-19; namely –

Download and spread the information.

Kitchen Collective, Seattle, USA

In Seattle’s South End, community-minded chefs, pop-ups, and restaurants have transformed temporary restaurant closures into a new grassroots collective that feeds neighbors in need. The Seattle Community Kitchen Collective is a group of chefs and restaurants providing free meals to whoever needs them, no questions asked. Click here to read about this amazing gesture of giving.

Meet the yelling bike messenger spreading smiles across Tacoma

This is a great story! When Matt Flaming was laid off due to COVID-19 he came up with a novel business idea that releases frustration, puts a smile on people's faces, and earns him some cash! Click here to read. 

#GivingTuesdayNow

This is a pop-up global giving campaign designed in response to COVID-19. Whether you want to give or generate support, #GivingTuesdayNow is a great way to engage supporters, share your story, and put that story on the map. Starting on the global day of giving and unity - Tuesday May 5, the campaign will continue for a month of Tuesdays to promote generosity. In Australia, this campaign is being promoted by the ourcommunity.com.au organisation. Click here to check out the campaign.

Canada Libraries Responding to Vulnerable Residents

Click here to read a great story from ‘Shareable’ about how the main libraries in Toronto have reinvented themselves as food delivery centres and places for homeless people respectively.
(Photo courtesy Shareable and Michelle Leung, TPL)

Ontario Together

This initiative by the Province of Ontario, Canada recognises the value of community contribution and creativity. It is a $50 million fund for community leadership to help fight Coronavirus. It invited submissions that can be actioned quickly. It asks for innovative solutions, ideas, supplies, and volunteers. Click here to learn more.

Elms Bank Virtual Choir

Click here for some inspiration from the Elms Bank Virtual Choir in the UK.

Seattle's Chinese Community

Great story of how the Chinese community in Seattle raised funds to purchase protective gear.. Love their quote -"We are all together”. Click here to read their story.

SouthAlive, South Invercargill, New Zealand

 

Love their image to encourage everyone in the neighbourhood to look after each other. 

 

Pay it Forward Boxes’, where the community shops - The Pantry - is working with local schools to identify individuals and families in need, and are having food boxes delivered to those families. Local residents are being encouraged to donate to a box. Read their story-

Three Invaluable sites to keep connected to for inspiration, ideas and tools

Acknowledgement
Thank you to so many friends, co-community builders and organisations for the sources of inspiration and ideas above.  

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Disclaimer
Bank of I.D.E.A.S. accepts no liability to any person/organisation for use of its information. All persons using or relying upon such content do so at their own risk and undertake sole responsibility for assessing the relevance and accuracy of that content. No responsibility is taken for any information or service which may appear on any linked websites. 

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