Restoring Capacity by Connecting
One of the upsides of the pandemic is that many of us have reconnected with friends in new and often quite profound ways. I have known Joyce from Find The Balance for more years than I care to mention and our friendship has endured, not by living out of each other's pockets, but by being there even if out of sight, as we were never out of mind.
I have always been in awe of her since she walked away from 'living the corporate dream' and followed her true passion- yoga, which at that time was not on-trend as it is today. I watched, as she not only built up her business single-handedly but also decided to see yoga, not just as exercise but in its truest form through respect and appreciation by immersing herself in its cultural, historical and social origins so that she could do it justice and not be another appropriator of indigenous traditions. So, it was hard to see the effects of the pandemic throw her off course.
The detrimental effects of the pandemic and lockdowns on women have been well documented and it was through this prism that we found each other as we were both caught up in a never-ending circle of introspection, as we tried to look forward to better days ahead. Then, one day, I saw something Joyce had posted; she was reaching out to older people to offer them an escape through yoga. I loved what I saw so I reached out to support what she was doing and it was then I knew that I could no more than this.
I decided that I wanted to help her explore her new ways of seeing and who could benefit from her expertise as a yoga practitioner in the emerging future. However, like many small businesses, she didn't have the capacity to take such a risk, but I did as a CIC. So, when the National Community Lottery put a call out for organisations to combat loneliness, isolation and mental health due to the pandemic, I knew straight away what I had to do.
Together we thought about what this would look and feel like and we came up with Restore and Connect, an intergenerational 6-week online programme, which offers an opportunity to know that people are not alone, to use yoga practice to improve your state of mind in order to combat social isolation and fatigue.
This partnership embodies true capacity building, as we have developed and strengthened our organisations to survive, adapt and thrive in a fast-changing world so we can better benefit the communities that we serve. This is transformational change, as it was generated from within us, from a shift in our mindset in order to create something with the potential to grow.