A couple of weekends ago I was visiting the West Yorkshire town of Todmorden for a festival when I noticed something unusual as we were walking around the town centre. Vegetables. Lots and lots of vegetables. Growing in the flower beds of the public gardens, in troughs set back from the road and in big vegetable boxes lining the pavements. A local initiative to make use of growing spaces for shared nutrition, with signs saying "Help Yourself", people were encouraged to pick and take away the vegetables to eat, and oddly nobody seemed to be abusing the privilege. We saw no vandalism, no greedy stripping out of the produce boxes, and the nearest thing to discord that we witnessed were a couple arguing about the best recipe to use for the leeks and herbs that they had just picked. My kids were quiet all of the train journey home (no mean feat) but have been asking ever since - why is isn't everywhere like that? Why doesn't everyone share?
Not an easy question to answer. Most communities have good points and bad points, whether they are the geographical areas where you live or the communities that we create for ourselves in care homes or villages. Sometimes this can be down to the area, sometimes it is down to one or several individuals. When we look at the people around us we all know who is the happy one, the helpful one, the funny one and the grumpy one. And some communities are wonderful places to be, whether it comes down to a good central spirit to the place, an initiative such as gardens, growing or tea parties that can bring us all together and get us talking or working as a team. Many people do, indeed, share.
We here at the Dignity in Care Team are aware that some of our dignity champions feel, quite rightly, a great pride in the communities that they live in or have helped to create, and we would like to know more. So let us know what makes you proud of your community, either by emailing or raising a discussion on the web forum, and let us share the good news.