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Author
Emma Penfold

A community response to loneliness during Covid. Part 1: Hedgehog Street

Over the next few days we will be sharing a few beautiful samples on how Norwich's communities have come together during unknown times, where neighbours helping neighbours have become friends. 

Loneliness, whether it is, emotional, social, transient, situation or chronic loneliness can be intensely powerful, isolating emotions at the best of times.  A simple act of kindness or connection by a friend or neighbour can be lifesaving. 

Tom, an older Italian gentleman, witnessed the importance of connecting with his neighbours, during Covid wisely said “Make friends before you need them”.

Life at what we endearingly call Hedgehog & Moth Street!

As Covid started to approach bunch of residents had the foresight to quickly set a WhatsApp group for their street.  Now almost 3 months later we asked them to briefly reflect on their activities and the difference it's made. 

We started by pulling together an informal group for neighbours to chat and request support. The group grew to include loans of equipment, sharing jokes together, and as time went on we rallied to share on-line orders with local businesses including a large plant order to support local garden centre.

Connecting with neighbours has brought unexpected but wonderful opportunities to have fun, play games, support and get to know one another.  We designed a Treasure Hunt for VE Day (local and distanced) including doorsteps give-a-ways of plants, seedlings and more for free collection. 

Elephant Hawk Moth Justin Farthing2

Photo credit Justin Farthing

One neighbour with a great interest and knowledge in moth’s, catches them at night and circulates photos of the most beautiful and rare ones. Great fun and gets us talking loads!

Several neighbours commented on the number of hedgehogs in the area so we’ve started linking our gardens up with holes in fences/walls enabling them to move around more safely; these little local things keep us all going and communicating!

"Covid has been tough, but we are very much enjoying a new sense of community and the shared (distancing) hellos every day.  This has been a team effort with really, really, lovely neighbours!" Annelise, local Norwich resident.

 

Main photo credits: James Robinson